The 2013 King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament kicked off this week in the royal seaside town of Hua Hin, with the opening day of the event offering a spectacle of seasoned elephant polo players, colourful parades, Thailand’s last elephant spirit men and 50 street elephants.
The proceedings began with a traditional ceremony overseen by a Brahmin who placed sacred garlands over the necks of the 50 elephants and then blessed them with a trickle of scented water. Thailand’s last elephant spirit men (Khru Ba Yai), who possess spiritual control over all elephants, also presided over the rituals and assured the polo players and spectators alike that the tournament would indeed be a resounding success.
All elephants taking part in the tournament are street elephants that receive essential vitamin supplements, full veterinary checks and care for the duration of the tournament. All funds raised from this year’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament will be donated to various projects throughout Thailand. To date the tournament has raised almost half a million US dollars.
Source: Press Release/Anantara