Last spring French photographer Charles Freger traveled to Jaipur, India where he shot these awesome portraits of elaborately painted and costumed elephants and their mahouts. The pairs were decked out in such festive finery for the annual Painted Elephant Parade.

The parade takes place each year on the eve of the Holi, the springtime festival of colours. Professional artists paint the elephants with the same colourful pigments that people use to splash each other during Holi.

Charles captured 25 stunning portraits of elephants and their mahouts. Visit National Geographic to view more.

[via Lost a E Minor]