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Festivals in Jaipur#

Elephant Festival#

The Elephant Festival is an annual event held every year at Jaipur the capital city of Rajasthan. The Elephant Festival is organised according to the Indian calendar on the full moon day of Phalgun Purnima (February/March), this day also coincides with day of Holika Dahan, when the Indian festival of colour and joy „Holi“ is celebrated all over India turning cities and towns into a riot of colour. As the name Elephant Festival suggests elephants are the centre of attraction. Pachyderms are washed, painted and groomed in all finery by their loving grooms or Mahouts as they are called in India. Elephants are specially decorated for the festival, with chunky elephant jewellery, large anklets decked with bells grace their feet and their bodies are painted with traditional Indian motifs. The mahouts are also dressed up in their brocade jackets and bright coloured Safa’s or turbans. There also is a prize for the best decorated Elephant and its Mahout. The highlights of the festival include unique sporting activities of the elephants: elephant race, elephant polo, the traditional tug-of-war between elephants and also the bright color battle on the backs of elephants, according to the ancient tradition of Holi. Accompanied by drum rhythms and vibrant trumpet sounds, the richly decorated and brightly painted animals are also parading through streets of Jaipur up to the palace.

Holi Festival#

The Holi Festival is mainly known in North India and Nepal, in other parts of the country it is known by other names. Holi stems from a Hindu tradition, the Indian Spring Festival. This "festival of colors" will take at least two, and in some parts of India also up to ten days. On this day all the barriers by caste, gender, age and social status seem repealed. It is celebrated playfully and everyone sprinkle each other with colored water and colored powder, the “Gulal”.

Pictures of the Elephant Festival and the Holi Festival in Jaipur by Heidrun and Bernd Mader from 2009.