A whole new ball game for tourism

 

SAURAHA - Baghmara Chaur in Sauraha saw a different ballgame on Saturday, the opening day of the sixth Chitwan Elephant Festival.

The fun started right after Vice Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly Purna Kumari Subedi inaugurated the festival aimed at promoting tourism. Elephants sweated it out to outpace their opponents at the day's race. Twelve out of 21 domestic and international teams advanced into the second round. While in the jumbo football match, the major attraction of the festival, DCBL defeated the Chaudhary Group 1-0.

The jumbo match was not much different from soccer. It had its set of diehard fans, who would shout and cheer whenever their favourite player moved the ball towards the goalpost.

“I came here mainly to watch elephant calves play football,” said one among thousands of people, who had poured in to watch the three-day festival.

“Eight elephant calves were trained for two weeks to kick the ball,” according to Rameshwor Chaudhary, chief at the Khorsor Elephant Breeding Centre.

Local communities and various organisations staged cultural processions to mark the opening day.

The festival has given rise to hope that tourism will bounce back in the popular destination of Sauraha. Local hotels and restaurants are packed with domestic and international tourists.

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