The majestic elephant - symbol of Thailand - beautifully decorated and ready to begin the festival.
Pattaya’s streets were filled with magnificent beasts last weekend, as 72 elephants paraded through the area to Honor His Majesty the King on the auspicious occasion of His 72nd Birthday and completion of His 6th Cycle of Life.
The elephant festival began on Friday, November 26th when 10,000 people participated in the Thai Traditional Arts Festival in Naklua.
Students carried banners honoring His Majesty the King through the streets of Naklua on the opening day of the festival.
Chonburi Governor Sujarit Pachimnan got the festival underway by presiding over the opening ceremony at the Bang Lamung Photisamphan School. Students from 33 schools, as well as boy scouts and residents from the community turned out to pay homage to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Minister of Communications Sonthaya Khunpleum presided over the opening ceremony honoring His Majesty the King’s Birthday Celebration at the King Taksin Monument in front of Pattaya City Hall on 27 November 1999.
Along with the elephants, the festival’s parade also included marching bands and thousands of students carrying banners honoring the King. The procession departed the area of Pattaya School #3 in Naklua and wound through the streets of the city.
Students from 33 schools took part in the opening day festivities on November 26th in Naklua.
After the parade, the schools continued the celebration with different activities, including science fairs and other special displays exhibiting various traditional arts and cultural customs in Thailand.
The festival resumed on November 27 when at 1:00 p.m., Minister of Communications Sonthaya Khunpleum struck a gong three times to begin a parade of 72 elephants, one honoring each of the King’s 72 years. Chonburi Governor Sujarit Pachimnan announced the proceedings.
Drums and gongs set the tempo prior to the start of the procession of elephants.
The parade started at the King Taksin monument in front of Pattaya City Hall. Nine guests of honor rode out on nine decorated elephants, with Minister Sonthaya on the lead elephant. The procession headed on down to the Dolphin Circle, then on to Pattaya Beach Road, through to South Pattaya Road, turning onto Pratumnak Road and eventually finishing on Thepprasit Road.
Watering points for the thirsty pachyderms.
40 mounting platforms were located along the route, giving people the chance to hitch a ride on the elephants at 250 baht for 400 meters. Food stalls, complete with bananas, pineapple and sugarcane, were also set up along the route - but not for people. The food was being sold to feed the elephants. Proceeds from both rides and food sales went towards Royal Family Charities.
Long Live His Majesty the King!
Food stalls were set up to feed the elephants..
Nine special elephants were chosen to lead the procession from city hall.
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pdated by Chinnaporn Sungwanlek, assisted by Boonsiri Suansuk.