Painted Thai elephants spray tourists with water to banish bad luck

 Foreign revelers battle water with elephants during a preview of Songkran Festival celebration, the Thai traditional New Year at the ancient world heritage historical park in city of Ayutthaya province, 
Thailand on April 11, 2017.
Foreign revelers battle water with elephants during a preview of Songkran Festival celebration, the Thai traditional New Year at the ancient world heritage historical park in city of Ayutthaya province, Thailand on April 11, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

AYUTTHAYA, Thailand (Reuters) - Colourfully painted elephants in the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya sprayed people with water on Tuesday (April 11) in a water fight that has become tradition to mark the country's New Year festivities.

"It's indescribable, it's amazing. You come out, you get in the tuk-tuk and you start having a water fight with the elephants," said David Gray, a British tourist sporting a bright Hawaiian shirt.

Ayutthaya, a Unesco World Heritage city, is home to one of the country's most popular elephant camps.

This year, Thailand celebrates the annual water festival, called Songkran, from April 13 to 15, to mark the traditional New Year.

The Songkran festival is often referred to as the world's biggest water fight - a time when revellers splash water on each other under the scorching sun. Everyone is fair game and tourists flock to the fun.

Thais believe water washes away bad luck and helps usher in prosperity.

Apart from the big splash, the New Year is also a time for family gatherings, praying, and paying respects to ancestors and dead relatives.