The elephant festival of Assam is also known as the Kaziranga Elephant Festival since it is organized in the Kaziranga National Park situated in the state. The main aim of the festival is the conservation and the protection of Asiatic elephants, since poaching has drastically reduced their numbers, combined with other reasons, such as frequent accidents. The Forest Department of Assam and the Tourist Department jointly organize this festival. Through the festival, efforts are made, to decrease the man and animal conflict in regular life. Domesticated elephants are decked up for participation in this event. They also take part in a number of event like football, dance, and parade for the joy of the onlookers. The festival also highlights the struggle of the elephants to survive in the rapidly modernizing society. It advocates Eco tourism, and conservation of the wild animals including that of elephants. This is an annual festival held every year in the month of February, where hundreds of elephants take part. Apart from them, a number of regional artists displaying folk traditions also participate in the cultural events.
History of the Festival
In order to promote Eco tourism, human elephant cohabitation and preservation of the Asiatic elephants; the Assam Forest Department; and the Department of Tourism had come together and organized the elephant festival in the year 2003. From then on the festival is being organized annually. In the first occasion, as many as 300 domesticated elephants took part in the festivity. However, from 2004 onwards there was a sharp decline in the number of participating elephants in the programme. However, the festival continues to flourish till date and is a major crowd puller.
Duration of the Festival
Each year the festival is organized in the month of February. The duration of the festival is 7 days from the 11th of February to the 17th of February.
Highlights/ Important Rituals of the Festival
The elephant festival fascinates a number of foreign and national tourists, especially the environment conscious people as well as the wildlife enthusiasts.
- The highlight of the festival is the painted and jewelry adorned domesticated Asiatic elephants, who catwalk in front of the audience, and put up a majestic performance.
- There are cultural programmes organized featuring regional traditions, as part of the celebration.