Inside Asia Tours

Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival

Each year in October the small town of Kyaukse, a short drive south of Mandalay, comes alive as it celebrates its unique Elephant Dance Festival.

The Elephant Dance Festival is celebrated every year at the end of Buddhist Lent, using intricate elephant costumes generally manned by two people. These spectacular creations take months to prepare, constructed from a bamboo frame covered in colourful cloth, paper, and foil. The costumes are further decorated in glitter, gold foil, satin, ribbons, and glass gems to create a true work of art.

The festival lasts all day and includes both a parade and a dance competition. The day starts with a parade around the marketplace, with the elephants circling the market three times so that everyone can get a good look at the beautiful artwork. The competition begins in the morning and is judged by prominent local officials. The elephants are judged on various details including the precision and harmony of the dancing, the teamwork of the dancers, the construction of the elephant, and the music and singing involved.

When to go:

Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival

located in Mandalay

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