Thu, Mar 23, 2017 | updated 09:53 AM IST

Beauty contest of elephants highlights the annual festival in Nepal

Updated: Dec 31, 2016 08:17 IST

Chitwan [Nepal], Dec. 31 (ANI): A Beauty contests and polo races were the highlight of a five-day annual elephant festival that started on Tuesday in Chitwan, Nepal.

Guided by their mahouts, the elephants kicked around a ball and scored goals.

"They are playing here and there, sometimes even chasing each other, sometimes the ball goes out of boundaries...they have done extremely well," one spectator said.

"About 100 elephants took part in the 13th Chitwan Elephant Festival," the organisers said.

Mahouts around the world have come under fire from animal rights groups for what they say is the mistreatment of their elephants. Mahouts have defended their training methods and said the instruments they use to control the elephants do not hurt them.

One part of the festival involves parading the elephants painted colourfully. The animals are judged not only for their decorations, but also for the quality of their skin.

"The objective of the beauty contest for the elephants is to create a friendly atmosphere between the elephant and the mahout, apart from the displaying decorations on the elephants," one of the judges, Miran Rijal, said.

Chitwan is one of the most popular destinations in the Himalayan country. Located about 170 km (105 miles) from Kathmandu, the place is popular for its wildlife and elephant safaris.

Due to a devastating earthquake in 2015 and a four-month blockade along a major trading point with India that was lifted in February this year, tourism numbers have dwindled.

"Mainly, after the earthquake and the blockade from India, the tourism in Nepal has gone down so badly. So, we are in the phase of increasing the number of tourism arrivals in Nepal," said the elephant festival's media coordinator, Keshav Pandey.

Though the region used to welcome nearly 200,000 tourists in a single year, the number has dropped to less than half after the disaster of 2015. This year, the festival has introduced elephant polo for the first time in its history, which is expected to draw huge number of foreign and domestic tourists.

The tourism industry is one of Nepal's biggest earners, bringing in millions of dollars for the impoverished country. (ANI)

New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): Condemning the recent terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said terrorism must be met through collective action by the international community.

Full Story >>

Mumbai (Maharashtra), Mar. 24 (ANI): Thousands of patients have been left to suffer and bear inconvenience at public hospitals as the resident doctors of Maharashtra continued their strike for the fourth day.

Full Story >>

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): At a time when protesting doctors were about to end their agitation, yet another attack on a resident colleague took place last night by a patient's relatives at city's Sion Hospital.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): Condemning the recent terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India stands with the United Kingdom in the fight against terrorism.

Full Story >>

Mumbai/New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): Hailing newly-elected Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's directive to ban pan masala in the government offices, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said the decision was a positive step and should be taken in the correct perspective.

Full Story >>

Bengaluru/New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): Close on the heels of Congress leader S.M. Krishna joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the grand old party said his ouster from the party was not loss for them.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): Day after former Congress leader S.M. Krishna joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) dubbed his decision as 'opportunism' saying that a person of his reputation was not expected to be disloyal and selfish.

Full Story >>

Patna/New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Janata Dal (United) on Wednesday hailed newly-elected Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's decision to ban 'pan masala' in the government premises in the state.

Full Story >>

Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Mar. 23 (ANI): Welcoming the Election Commission of India's (ECI) move to freeze the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) election symbol, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Thursday said V.K. Sasikala's faction had tried to illegally usurp the office of party general secretary.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Supreme Court will today continue the hearing on the plea filed by NGO Common Cause seeking complete ban on the illegal mining across Odisha.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Supreme Court will today continue the hearing in connection with the plea of Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) against the Delhi High court order allowing the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to auction the Taj Mansingh Hotel, located in the Lutyen's zone.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Supreme Court will today hear the conspiracy charges against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in connection with the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Delhi High Court will today continue hearing Swaraj India's plea seeking allotment of common symbol to the party to contest the upcoming municipal elections in the national capital.

Full Story >>

Chennai (Tamil Nadu)[India], Mar. 23 (ANI): Expressing disappointment over the Election Commission of India (ECI) decision to freeze the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) election symbol, former Tamil Nadu chief minister O. Panneerselvam said he would raise his voice legally to get back the symbol.

Full Story >>

Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Mar. 23 (ANI): Soon after the Election Commission of India (ECI) decided to freeze the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) election symbol, party deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran asserted the decision would not affect them in the upcoming R.K. Nagar by-polls.

Full Story >>

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Mar. 22 (ANI): The Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to freeze the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) election symbol of 'two leaves', after representatives of former Tamil Nadu chief minister O. Panneerselvam and former party general secretary V.K. Sasikala factions made their claims for it.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 22 (ANI): In a hair raising incident, a woman and her daughter were rescued today after they were allegedly held captive in a room by the father-in- law for more than a year.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 22 (ANI): With one woman killed and several 'catastrophically' injured in a terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London, United Kingdom, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday strongly condemned the attack stating that terrorism has no place in a democracy.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], March, 22 (ANI): The Congress on Wednesday lashed out at the party's veteran leader S.M. Krishna after he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying that the grand-old party respected him but the former changed his allegiance for 'personal greed'.

Full Story >>

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Mar 22 (ANI): After Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath swore to protect women in the state and launched 'Anti-Romeo' squads to check on eve-teasing in public areas, Additional Director general of police (ADG) Daljeet Choudhary on Wednesday stated similar views to protect women from getting eve teased or molested.

Full Story >>