International Elephant Race – December 2007 in Chitwan National Park

Asia World Enterprises, Bangkok, emerged victorious at the recently concluded 4th International Elephant Race in Sauraha, Chitwan. The company, which is EH’s Thailand partner, was represented by the strong and swift pachyderm, Junga Bahadur.

The International Elephant Race & Festival in Sauraha, which was started at the initiative of Regional Hotel Association Nepal, has proved to be quite a crowd puller. The prime objective of this event is to promote Elephant Based Safari and cultural tourism in Chitwan, as well as to draw the attention of the people towards the decreasing number of elephants in the Chitwan area. The inhabitants of Sauraha, who are mostly dependent on tourism, has benefited largely from this event. During the festival one witnessed the elephant march past, the bathing and decoration of the elephants and of course, the chief highlight of the festival, the elephant race. The other programs included the bullock cart race, canoe race, horse cart race, elephant soccer and Tharu cultural program. A photo exhibition and documentary shows covering the life cycle of elephants was also shown.

This year too, the festival saw a high turnout of local as well as foreign crowd. The highlight of the festival was the elephant race. Altogether 24 elephants participated in the elephant race. 8 elephants represented foreign visitors, while 16 elephants represented Nepalese companies or individuals.

Junga Bahadur, who represented Asia World enterprises (EH’s Thailand partner), emerged as the winner in the preliminary round, as well as in the final competition. He completed the final race in 1.37.33 minutes, covering a distance of 600 meters (two way distance of 300 meters each). He had to face tough competition from Pawan Kali, who came a close second. According to Naseer Ali, Junga Bahadur’s mahout, this was the first time that Jung Bahadur was competing at the International Elephant Race.


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