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Elephant beauty pageant highlights 3-day Nepal festival


Published on Dec 29, 2010

Sauraha, Nepal (CNN) -- The beauty pageant was like any other, with decked-out contestants parading on a catwalk and undergoing intelligence tests.

Hygiene and good health were important, along with physical stature.

But the pageant held Monday and Tuesday in a Nepal wildlife resort town was not for young women -- it was for elephants.

In the competition, the first such in the nation, a svelte 28-year-old walked away with the prize after defeating two other finalists.

The mahouts -- the elephants' keepers -- worked hard on their charges' looks. The pachyderms were bathed, their hard skins scrubbed and their foreheads oiled. The mahouts also drew patterns on the elephants' faces and ears.

Of the three finalists, the youngest won. Chanchalkali, which translates as "playful beautiful," looked resplendent in a light red gown that covered her hulk of a body. Her nails were painted different colors and her forehead was covered with red cloth.

"I think she won because I worked hard on her," said her mahout, 46-year-old Prabhu Chaudhary, after the result was announced. "The fact that she was younger than her competitors also helped."

She behaved well, too, he added.

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