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Elephant Festival starting in Nepal tourism hub Chitwan | Coastweek

CHITWAN Nepal (Xinhua) -- Players participate in the Elephant Polo during the 14th Elephant Festival in Sauraha, southwest Nepal’s Chitwan district. The five-day event, organized by the Regional Hotel Association of Sauraha in Chitwan National Park, was inaugurated by Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. XINHUA PHOTOS - SUNIL SHARMA

Elephant Festival kicks off in Nepal tourism hub Chitwan   

KATHMANDU Nepal (Xinhua) -- The 14th edition of Elephant Festival kicked off in Nepal’s third popular tourism destination Chitwan on Tuesday with the participation of over 50 elephants.

The five-day event, organized by the Regional Hotel Association of Sauraha in Chitwan National Park, was inaugurated by Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

The annual fiesta aims to bring humans closer with elephants, encourage wildlife protection and conservation and promote tourism in the region.

“We have been organizing this festival to enhance human-wildlife relations by engaging them into sports and fun and to promote tourism of Chitwan,” festival coordinator Suman Ghimire told Xinhua over phone.

According to the organizer, the festival will showcase elephant walk, elephant football, elephant bath, elephant beauty contest and elephant picnic, among others.

“Our all games and activities will revolve around elephants,” Ghimire added.

Elephant picnic was added to the schedule some three years ago to provide affection, care and respect to the elephants.

Chitwan National Park is enriched with abundance of wildlife and flora and fauna where elephant safari is one of the major attractions.

Besides the elephant adventures, the festival will also feature cultural procession, ethnic dances and musical programs with stalls of variety of local foods.

Hundreds of domestic and foreign tourists visit Chitwan every year to experience this incredible fiesta, which will conclude on Dec. 30.

Though Chitwan is a pioneer hub for elephant adventures, tourism entrepreneurs often claim that it still lacks tourists as compared to other tourism destinations of the country like Kathmandu and Pokhara.

“Around 800,000 foreign tourists visit Nepal annually, but unfortunately Chitwan receives only 25 percent of them. We believe such festivals will attract more foreign tourists towards wildlife adventure,” Keshav Pandey, director at Green Park Chitwan resort, told Xinhua.



Nearly 100 elephants enjoy day-off and picnic in Nepal

CHITWAN Nepal (Xinhua) -- Nepal’s tourism hub Chitwan hosted the elephant picnic on Tuesday as part of the ongoing 13th Chitwan Elephant Festival.

The concept behind organizing the picnic is to provide special care, love and respect to the elephants and to bring them closer with humans.

Deepak Bhattarai, first Vice President of Regional Hotel Association Chitwan told Xinhua, “Elephants serve humans throughout the year so this program aims to return them the love and care that these large creatures deserve. It is the perfect medium for rewarding them.”

This is the third consecutive year of unique elephant picnic in the annual year-ender fiesta.

Nearly 100 elephants participated in the picnic program organized in Sauraha, the gateway of Chitwan National Park.

On the occasion, elephants were served their favorite sugarcane, rice with molasses, bananas, apples, oranges and cabbages. A single elephant was fed with nearly 70 kilograms of food in their day-off.

They also enjoyed a day-off from their regular safari schedule.

“As per the discussion with medical professionals, we arranged nutritious food for elephants that comprise vitamins and minerals”, Bhattarai added.

Hundreds of domestic and foreign tourists attended the two-hour long picnic while mahouts were also treated with special delicacies.

A Chinese tourist with English name Sunny shared with Xinhua, “I am very happy to be a part of this elephant picnic. It will definitely boost animal-human relationship. I am very impressed.”

Chitwan is the third popular tourism destination in the Himalayan country after the capital city Kathmandu and lake city Pokhara. Located some 170 kilometers away from Kathmandu, the place is especially popular for its abundance of rich wildlife and elephant safari.

Over 50 elephants conduct safari in the Chitwan National Park every day.

According to statistics, the region used to welcome nearly 200,000 tourists annually before the devastating earthquake of April 2015.

According to local tourism entrepreneurs, the region’s tourism is bouncing back gradually with the impressive flow of foreign tourists especially from neighboring countries China and India.



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