Travel photo of the month Each month, we bring you a stunning image that reflects and celebrates the unique cultures, customs, events and traditions found around the SilkAir network Words and Photography by Various Across the Network Share This Story Facebook Twitter Pinterest 1/7 July 2017: Makepung is derived from the Balinese word “kepung”, meaning to chase around. It’s an apt name for this annual event, which sees pairs of water buffaloes, each set pulling a cart and a jockey, race against one another on dirt tracks. Started in 1930 to celebrate the rice harvest, it has since grown into a full-fledged championship held between July and November across Bali’s Jembrana Regency. “I always thought buffaloes were lazy creatures,” says photographer Putu Sayoga, who took this image at Delod Berawah village. “But their speed during the race took me completely by surprise.” 2/7 June 2017: Yoga is an ancient physical and spiritual practice that originated in India but is now performed across the globe. Thanks to its universal appeal, the United Nations declared June 21 – chosen to coincide with the summer solstice – as the International Day of Yoga back in 2014. “To me, this organised display encapsulates the discipline and precision that yoga requires,” says Arun Sankar, who captured this image of schoolchildren performing the surya namaskar (sun salutation) in Chennai, India, on the eve of the festival last year. 3/7 May 2017: Rice is still the staple crop in South-East Asia, and an essential ingredient for a successful harvest is rain. This is why between April and June every year, the people of Laos and north-eastern Thailand perform a Buddhist fertility rite ahead of the back-breaking planting season. During the Bun Bang Fai festival, villagers construct enormous bottle rockets, firing them into the sky in hopes of bringing rain. “Being so close to the rockets was dangerous – they can explode at any time – but exhilarating,” says photographer Chattakan Kosol. 4/7 April 2017: Around 90km south of Cebu City lies the coastal town of Moalboal. A diving mecca that’s home to colourful reefs, its warm waters are also especially conducive for the sardine run. This natural phenomenon sees millions of fish congregating in shimmering, swirling shoals at the reef drop-off point that runs along Panagsama Beach. Photographer Lim Anqi managed to capture this shot while freediving off the coast. “Watching the sardines disperse, and then come together again in different shapes and forms, was a surreal experience,” she recalls. While the sardines can be spotted virtually all year round, the shoals are at their largest during the dry season, which runs between December and April. 5/7 March 2017: A young dancer lets out an enormous yawn during the Melasti Festival in Bali, much to her friend’s apparent horror. She, along with the rest of her troupe, is waiting to perform the rejang, a dream-like dance that is characterised by slow and graceful moves. The dance is a regular fixture during the festival, which is a Hindu purification rite held several days prior to Nyepi Day (28 Mar this year). During that annual “Day of Silence”, devotees abstain from work, entertainment, travel and sometimes even eating and talking for 24 hours. “My favourite thing about this photo is how it captures several different sentiments in a split second, and in a single frame,” shares photographer Khairel Anuar Che Ani. 6/7 February 2017: Photographer Prabhakaran Sambandam managed to catch these flamboyantly dressed folk dancers in the village of Karunguzhi, two hours south of Chennai. They were taking a break during Maha Shivaratri, held in honour of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. Translated as “The Great Night of Shiva”, the festival is held on the day of the new moon in the month of Maagha (on 25 Feb this year) in the Hindu calendar. Devotees believe that it marks the day that Lord Shiva married the goddess Parvati, and they fast and hold an all-night prayer vigil to cleanse their sins. 7/7 January 2017: The Sinulog festival is one of the grandest and most colorful festivals in the Philippines. The main festival is held each year on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City to honor the Santo Nino. The Sinulog is a dance ritual that commemorates the Filipino people's pagan past and their acceptance of Christianity. The festival features a street parade with participants in bright-colored costumes dancing to the rhythm of drums, trumpets, and native gongs.