Author Topic: Surin Elephant Roundup Show coming to Thailand  (Read 2270 times)

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Offline Johnnie F.

Surin Elephant Roundup Show coming to Thailand
« on: October 06, 2011, 10:35:58 AM »
Surin Elephant Roundup Show coming to Thailand

(OPENPRESS) October 05, 2011 -- A parade of majestic animals can be seen by Thailand tourists who attend the Surin Elephant Roundup Show next month.

Taking place during the Red Cross Fair at Srinarong Stadium on November 19th and 20th 2011, the show is designed to honour the majestic Thai elephants that occupy such a revered position in local culture.

Elephants are treated by the Thai people as symbols of power, grace and royal splendour, as well as historically playing a key role in the day-to-day lives of many, meaning they are regarded as members of the family.

The bond between elephants and their keepers is a key theme of the Elephant Roundup Show, which has been organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand since 1960 and has become a popular draw for foreign visitors.

Those attending can expect to see animals being treated with great respect by their handlers, with the show encompassing feeding demonstrations, banquets and parades in previous years.

A spectacular light and sound performance, entitled The Legend of Prasat Srikhoraphum, will also be put on for vistors to enjoy.

More information about the event can be found at www.tatnews.org/events.
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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Surin Elephant Roundup Show coming to Thailand
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2011, 12:18:09 PM »
Of jumbos and silk

Surin is home to Thailand's largest elephant camp and unique silk weaving centres

Surin is quiet most of the year except during the third week of November when the annual Elephant Roundup, the province's largest festival, is held.



A group of 45 families joined hands to establish a silk weaving centre in Ban Na Dang in Khwao Si Narin district in 1990. They use natural materials to dye their silk threads, which come in bright colours. The materials are lac for red, ebony for black and the bark of jackfruit trees for yellow.

The two-day elephant extravaganza always draw tens of thousands of visitors to watch the three-hour performances, including traditional and classical Thai dances, an ancient elephant battle, elephants dancing to music and two elephant teams playing soccer against each other. Another highlight is when about 200 jumbos march the main streets of the city as part of the parade and join a fruit buffet. They later offer riding services to visitors.

But before the event kicks off next month, you may want visit Ban Ta Klang in Tha Tum district, 58km north of town, to see the elephants and their daily performances. The village is also known as the biggest elephant village in Thailand.

The Kui, an ethnic group that migrated to Siam during the Ayutthaya period, treat the big animals as pets that are also regarded as a family's heritage.  According to Thongchai Mungcharoen, mayor of the Provincial Administrative Organisation of Surin, the Elephant Study Centre was set up in the village as a permanent shelter for the animals and to stop them roaming around the capital.



The elephant show in Ban Ta Klang is one of the magnets that lures tourists to Surin. During the low season, a majority of visitors are students. They laughed and clapped when they saw the elephants dance, shoot a basketball or make a free kick. The show became more exciting with loud screams from the audience when three elephants, one by one, walked over four students lying on the ground. The elephants also played with the volunteers, massaging one with its front leg and patting another student’s back with its trunk. The two-hour performance runs every day at 10am and 2pm. Tickets are 300 baht for adults, 100 baht for children and 20 baht for students.

At present, 195 animals live at the centre and a further 90 are on the waiting list as the PAO requires a larger budget to add new members. The authority give each elephant owner 5,000 baht a month as salary plus 100 baht a day for the elephant's food.

Some of the owners said that they were not earning enough. This is mainly due to the elephants' voracious appetites — each one can eat up to 300kg a day. "The elephants eats all the time except during their three-hours of sleep. Only 100 baht a day cannot buy enough food for such a big stomach," said an owner, who did not want to reveal his name.

"There is a piece of land where we can grow fruits or grass for our elephants not far from our village," said a housewife, who sells bunches of sugarcane for 20 baht to tourists as elephant fodder.  Unfortunately, the area has become smaller because many owners prefer to sell their plot to local investors and outsiders who plan to open resorts.



Silver ornaments have been one of the famous products of Khwao Si Narin district for a century. In the past, locals wore a silver ornament stuffed with a mantra written on a pieced of paper as an amulet, but today people wear silver ornaments for fashion. Boonkeua Kongdee displays her unique shawl designs and other accessories. Her works were also presented to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn when the princess visited the village years ago.

"In the past, our elephants could roam around the forest for food, but there is no green land any more," she added. But life goes on and they are waiting and training their elephants for the annual fest.

In addition to the largest national elephant village, Surin is also famed for its silk weaving.

Many houses open their doors to let visitors observe their weaving techniques. There are two famous stops you should not miss: Ban Tha Swang in Muang and Ban Na Dang in Khwao Si Narin district. They also offer their products for sale in the villages.

There are many more things to explore such as the Khmer ruins. So, if you are travelling to southern Isan, spare some time to meet the locals and observe their cultural heritage in peaceful Surin.


At the Chan Soma weaving centre in Ban Tha Sawang in Muang district, a loom is much taller and more complicated than those seen at other weaving villages. The loom is up to three metres high, accommodates up to 1,416 heddles and requires at least four people to weave. Using an old technique dating back to the Ayutthaya period, each cloth is woven using the thin, shiny and finest silk threads from the inner part of silkworm cocoons and imported golden thread. The final produce is called pha mai yok thong boran, or ‘‘ancient silk weaving with gold threads’’. On average, they can weave about 5cm of a golden brocade a day. A 2.5-metre-long piece will require about two months work.



MORE INFO

- The Elephant Study Centre, Ban Ta Klang, is 58km north of town. It also offers a homestay service. Call 044-145-0500 and 044-145-046/7.

- Chan Soma weaving centre, Ban Tha Sawang in Muang district is located on Km 24 of Ko Loy-Muang Ling Road. It is open daily from 8am-5pm. Call 044-558-489/90.

- Ban Dang Silk Weaving Village can be reached via village head Nongyao Songwicha at 08-0167-4861.

- To contact the Khwao Si Narin Silverware centre, call the group president Pranom Khaongam at 08-6262-8299.

- Call the Surin Provincial Administrative Office at 044-514-524 or the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Surin office at 044-514-447/8.

Bangkok Post
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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Surin Elephant Roundup Show coming to Thailand
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 10:18:54 AM »
Elephant Shows in Surin
 
Surin Province is among the southern provinces in the Isan or northeastern region of Thailand where the Suai tribe resides. The people especially inhabit the area of Tha Tum Sub-district, approximately 50 kilometers from downtown Surin. Suai people, apart from being noted for their unique culture and traditions, are well known for their expertise in domesticating wild elephants. The method used to catch wild elephants is called Phon Chang, in which the mahout uses one elephant as bait for catching another elephant. Phon Chang is often practiced around the forest to the south of Sangkha and Prasat districts in Surin Province, close to the Thai-Cambodian border.

Ta Klang Village in Kra Pho Sub-dsitrct, Tha Tum District, Surin, is notable for its elephant domestication. The villagers followed their ancestors in practicing the Phon Chang method. Phon Chang, however, later it became quite unsuccessful due to territorial disputes and the declining number of wild elephants. As a result, the villagers attempted to breed elephants themselves and keep them as pets.

In 1960, Winai Suwannakat, Chief District Officer of Tha Tum District, initiated an elephant show to spread the name of Tha Tum. The Tourism Authority of Thailand foresaw that the uniqueness of the show could draw many foreign tourists. Therefore, TAT supported and cooperated with the district staff in advertising the show and was successful in promoting it in Surin as Thailand’s national event of 1962. The performance was later moved from Tha Tum District to Surin Provincial Stadium.

The elephant show is arranged on the weekend of the third week of November every year, starting from 8.00 am to 12.00 pm. The demonstration highlights the intelligence of Thai elephants and how the people can train and use elephants for work. Local art and cultural performances are featured alongside the event.

The festival also features an elephant parade where all elephants in the performance march together. Following the parade is a rocket procession to show that the rocket festival is an important event in the northeastern region of Thailand. Then an elephant psychic will carry out a ritual to pay respect to the holy spirits before leaving for Phon Chang. The ritual is held at the psychic’s house where a set of offerings including pig, flowers, liquor, and Pa Kam rope are sacrificed. The Pa Kam rope is a lasso made of tied sliced water buffalo skin that has been sundried for about a year. It is extremely durable and is used for catching wild elephants, it is believed to be even stronger after going through the ritual.

The next program is the demonstration of wild elephant catching by Suai people. It requires a highly skilled mahout since wild elephants are much fiercer. The catcher has only the Pa Kam rope as his equipment. After the demonstration, the event displays the work of domesticated elephants such as trailing logs and fun elephant racing.

In the interval for the elephants to rest, local people present a cultural show. The show is a beautiful traditional dance called Ram Sak or Ruam Am Re. Then the elephants are back again with their racing show, elephants crossing over human bodies, elephants acting according to human’s instructions, and a lot more, which shows the intelligence of the dignified animal.

One of the highlights of the day is the tug-of-war between humans and elephants. This shows the enormous strength of an elephant. One elephant can comfortably pull the whole army with its trunk. The tourists are also welcome to test the power of the elephant in this tug-of-war. After testing their strength, the show moves on to demonstrate the elephants’ agility by arranging a soccer match for them! The elephants are divided into two teams and compete against each other using a large football suitable for the size of the animal. The finale features an elephant march widely practiced back in the days when elephants were used in warfare.

After the entertainment ends, you can ride on an elephant and trek around the area. There are also elephant police as well. A mahout sits on his elephant and commands it to provide security service for the show. If someone happens to trespass into the showing ground, the elephant police will use its trunk to push the trespasser out of the edge.

If that wasn’t all you will also find a local trade fair, and various shows and performances.

For 2011, the elephant show is scheduled on November 19 -20, 2011. Please contact Surin Provincial Office for more information at 0 4451 2039, or TAT Surin Office at 0 4451 4447.
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: prdiv3@tat.or.th
Web site: www.tatnews.org
http://www.tatnews.org/tat_release/detail.asp?id=5415

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