One of the greatest spectacles Thailand had to offer is the annul round-up of the elephants.
One of the greatest spectacles Thailand had to offer is the annul round-up of the elephants. This is held at Surin - north-east of the capital, bangkok. Nowhere else on earth are so many elephants brought together at one time than at this festival - a yearly occasion that attracts young and old.
Before the round-up starts the elephant hunters gather to perform traditional rites. The men use a pig's head and other ingredients to invoke the attention and protection of the spirits in the hunt that lies ahead.
Then comes the parade. Huge elephants bedecked in bright livery for war stride majestically through the streets. This parade commemorates the role of elephants once had in the defence of Thailand - the romantic days when Thai Kings and Princes rode forth to war on the backs of the world's biggest, most powerful land animals.
The strength of the elephants is well known. Before the round-up elephants demonstrate their strength by heaving huge logs off the ground and carrying them along. elephants are still used in the teak forests of southeast Asia in the timber industry. Slowly they are being replaced by machines - to the regret of many elephant handlers and villagers.
Finally ceremonies reach a climax. Rockets are fired - and the elephants round-up is on. Trained elephants are used as decoys while Mahots - men who know elephants better than most families know their pet dogs - try to slip nooses around the legs of the wild prey. Then, again with the aid of the trained elephants, the Mahots subdue the wild elephants. Finally the decoys are rewarded - a juicy bunch of sugar cane each.