Nepal hosted a beauty contest for elephants as part of the 13th Chitwan Elephant Festival, which began on Tuesday. The elephants were painted colourfully for the pageant, wherein they were judged for their decorations and the quality of their skin. A polo race for elephants was also held during the five-day festival.
The elephants kicked around a ball and scored goals, guided by mahouts. The organisers of the festival have claimed that about 100 elephants took part in the festival.
The participants were paraded under the guidance of mahouts with colorful painting all over their body. 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. Miran Rijal,one of the judges.
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.
Meanwhile, the mahouts and the organisers 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.