The Kaziranga Elephant Festivals, organized by the Sub-Divisional administration, Bokakhat along with the District Administration Golaghat, Govt. of Assam, the Department of Forest and Environment, Govt. of Assam and Department of Tourism, Govt. of Assam with the cooperation of the neighbouring population, is one of the biggest of its kind in India. The Kaziranga Elephant Festival was organized for the first time in 2003 at Kohora, the Festival has come around a long line of development with the addition and subtraction of a number of features down the years.
The Festivals, organized chiefly with a view to mitigating and allaying man-elephant coexistence with a public interface, promoting the cause of tourism centering the World Heritage Site and in preserving in-situ conservation of the flora and fauna of the Park, generating job and income avenues etc., have earned accolades from the cross section of the society in all these years. The Festivals have been a major occasion to showcase the rich bio-diversity, exotic beauty, and culture of Assam has accolades from the tourists and food connoisseurs from across the country. It has given an impetus to the already robust wild life tourism in the locality enriching the government coffers.
In 2003, the KEF was held for the first time 10th January to 12th January, the programmes of the Festival included a rich cultural procession highlighting man-animal co-existence, rich ethnic diversity of the region; mock elephant captivation, elephant bath, commands by mahouts, traditional games and sports, cultural competitions, a food festival, have Self Help Group fair, and some other attractive programmes. Tourists from abroad graced the first kaziranga elephant festival.
The Second Kaziranga Elephant Festival got underway from 29th January, 2004 and continued till 1st of February, 2004. The Festival was inaugurated in the main Festival ground at Mihimukh with the opening of the exhibition cum SHG Mela and Food Festival and included programmes like flag hoisting, procession of bedecked elephants and cultural troupes, cultural and elephant events, traditional sports, elephant joy ride and solo performance by elephants. Other sports included special sports and participatory sports events involving local communities and foreign guests, elephant and jeep safari, workshops, seminars and camps on man-elephant co-existence, elephant health care river cruise at Dhansiri, Brahmaputra and Mora Dhansiri river and adventure sports etc.
The Third Kaziranga Elephant festival was celebrated from 11th to 17th February, 2005 which coincided with the Centenary Celebrations of the Kaziranga National Park and included programmes like ethnic food festival and cultural programme, procession, participatory traditional sports, biodiversity conservation rally, adventure sports, boating, film festival etc. that also included events related to elephants and all other featured events.
he Fourth Kaziranga Elephant Festival that started from 29th January, 2006 also included a number of exciting events including river cruise, elephant and jeep safari, cultural show by Song and Drama Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, New Delhi where artists from Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Govt. of Assam. Besides, cuisine rating, evenings with mahouts, musical performance, feeding and elephant commands, jeep and elephant safari etc. were some other attractions of the Festival.
The Fifth Kaziranga Elephant Festival that started from 4th January, 2007 and continued till 7th of the same month, organized all the previous events. A seminar titled ‘Bio Diversity of Kaziranga and its Preservation in context with growing tourist inflow’, a procession of harmony highlighting man-elephant co-existence and rich cultural heritage, values of the region, cuisine rating etc. were some of the major attractions of the festival.
Events like documentary show by the department of Forest, NGOs, Cultural show, art, quiz and essay competition among students, SHG and Food mela were some of the notables of the Sixth Kaziranga Elephant Festival besides the other regularly organized events. The Festival was held from 18th to 20th April, 2008 amidst merriments.