French photographer Charles Freger captured these stunning images during the Elephant Festival in Jaipur, India. The highlight of this event is a competition in which riders, known as mahouts, paint, dress and bejewel themselves as well as their elephants to compete for the honor of best dressed pair. Mahouts are not only a rider, but also the trainer and keeper of the elephant. Typically, they are born into this profession, paired with their elephant from a young age, and bonded for life. Absolutely compelling, no? I’m entranced by these beautiful traditions, sumptuous colors and the fascinating dynamic between mahout and elephant. Anyone interested in taking a trip to India with me?
Photos courtesy of National Geographic