Elephants play a special role in Indian culture. No wonder they have a special holiday. Elephant Festival is celebrated in Jaipur, Rajasthan, every year during Holi celebration, usually in March. The major attractions of the festival are elephant polo and elephant dances. The Elephant festival also features the tug-of-war game between an elephant and 19 men and women.
The culmination of the Elephant Festival is the colourful parade of bedecked lavishly decorated elephants as well as horses and camels wearing luxurious saddles, anklets, ear danglers, head plates, and other jewelry. The procession also includes chariots, palanquins, and lancers. People greet the elephants sprinkling colours on them. In the end, the best-decorated elephant gets an award. Live concerts with traditional dances and music complete the festive atmosphere. Most events of the festival take place at the Rajasthan Polo Ground. The event is free to attend, so mind that the crowds could be rather large.
The Elephant Festival is a very popular event in Jaipur, according to Rajasthan traditions, elephants are royal and precious animals. Rajasthan princes and kings are often portrayed riding elephants. However, animal rights activists have expressed concern about animals being covered with artificial colours. Because of these concerns, the festival was cancelled in 2013 and 2014.