Do you want the most complete experience in India? Yes!? … There is no better way than on an Elephant, especially if you want to take an extravagant walk through the streets of a majestic city or through the depths of the jungle, as it is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular ways to immerse yourself in the cultural and historical essence of India. In India it is possible to connect with this magnificent animal and through it, to be able to walk in ways that take you the historical heritage of those kingdoms surrounded by ancient gods, and to be in contact with the purity of nature in the middle of its jungles.

We present in this practical guide all you need to know, about the destinations to do Safaris or Camps with the elephants approved by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. In addition, we tell you interesting facts and tips so you can fully enjoy being in contact with these noble animals.

Elephants in India

 

India is home to more than 50% of Asian elephants and 20% of domesticated elephants in the world, since until the previous century the forests of the south and northeast were completely inhabited by these magnificent mammals.

In places like Sri Lanka , southern and northeastern India are the main households of this kind species differing from their relative (the African elephant), the Asian elephants are smaller in sizes measuring 2.0-3.5 meters from height with the smaller ears and fangs unlike the great weight, the long tusks and the big ears of the African elephant. Even though Asian elephants weigh about 5 tons they are more nimble than their African relatives, even in mountainous areas.

On the other hand, elephants stand out for being very intelligent socially among them in aspects such as: mourning, altruism, adoption, play, use of tools, compassion and self-recognition. For this reason, throughout history the relationship between man and the elephant has been quite developed, since, unlike African elephants, they are more peaceful to be in contact with humans, a quality that has been exploited by workers since ancient times up to nowadays in activities such as: lifting loads, moving weight and vehicle of people. Also, in the times of the imperial kingdoms, the elephants played a central role both to rule out the luxurious walks of the Maharajas and the strategic transfer and loading of elephants in the wars.

Where to visit them?

Due to the great hunting and captivity of Asian elephants, public and private institutes such as “Save the Elephants” and the “National Elephant Conservation Authority” have been given the task of protecting and supervising both wild and domesticated elephants. For this reason, today we can enjoy unexpectedly finding elephants in the tropics of Kerala (the most extensive elephant habitat in India).

Also read:   Things to see and do in Jaipur

– Safaris mounted on elephants, such as:

1. JimCorbett National Park, Uttarakhand. 
2. Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam. 
3. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh. 
4. Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh. 
5. Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal. 
6. Periyar wildlife sanctuary, Kerala.

– Interactive elephant camps, such as:

1. Camp Sakrebailu, Shimoga. 
2.Punnatthurkotta, Guruvayoor. 
3. Theppakadu camp, Mudumalai. 
4. Camp Dubare, Kodagu.

-I walk around the city on an elephant, such as:

1. Tour to The Amber Fort, Jaipur.

Elephants at Indian festivals

The elephant has played an important role in the folklore of India, where it has been related since antiquity in religion as a symbol of fortune and protection, because in Hindu mythology “the devas (gods) and the asuras (demons) They stirred the ocean, hoping that they would become eternal. Suddenly, nine jewels also known as the “Navaratnam” emerged from the ocean. Of the nine jewels that appeared, one of them was an elephant. ”

Therefore, today the elephant is present in the most important festivals thanks to the inheritance that falls on them both historical and spiritual. India is the land of the most colorful festivals, as all the elephants chosen to parade are adorned among beautiful saddles, colorful woven fabrics and artistic paintings on their skins illustrating short stories among tigers, gods and lotus flowers used as tribute to to bless pilgrims and to represent the festivities.

Usually at every festival of places like Kerala , Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan there will always be at least one elephant included in the celebration. But thanks to the tourist institutes they have been able to promote and organize large-scale festivals such as:

-Elephants at the Holi Festival in Jaipur.

Generally in the month of March, in the state of Rajasthan, in the city of Jaipur, the festival of elephants takes place in the Holi festival, where the celebration begins with a procession presenting the very beautifully ornamented elephants and they are celebrated mainly two great activities such as; The pole on elephant and the dance of the elephants.

-PooramGajamela – The Elephant Festivals in Kerala.

Pooram Gajamela Kerala

In the locality of Ardoor a great festival is celebrated generally at the beginning of the month of January, where the representations of kathakaliy the great stop of elephants that gathers next to the Parthasarathy temple make festival a great ceremony.

Safaris in Elephants

When hearing the word “Safari” it is very easy to relate it with walks through the thickest jungles or plains of the savannah on the four wheels of a Jeep, however the best way to become one with the Indian nature is to walk on the backs of a elephant. Through this beautiful animal the mysterious jungle welcomes you to all its diversity, and being on its backs, to be able to feel the rhythm of its walk, its peculiar sounds and look all over the place at the height of its head, this one without a doubt It is an experience that only animals like these can offer you when doing a Safari in India.

Riding on the back of the elephant requires written permission from the Field Director in each national park. To avoid disappointment, it is recommended that you book these trips well in advance. There are many tour operators of Safari in Elephants of India. They have all the responsibility of organizing excursions and provide well-trained mahouts and guides to provide you with a fruitful and satisfying experience.

1. JimCorbett National Park, Uttarakhand.

The first national park of India , located in the hills of the HimalayasKumaon, which is the most recognized of all Uttaranchal, due to its vast diversity of flora and fauna being an important reserve of the Bengal tigers. The Corbett National Park is divided into five different zones. Among these five areas, the tourist areas of Dhikala and Bijrani offer excellent elephant and jungle safaris.

More than 488 species of plants have been recorded in Corbett Park and it is also known for its Asian elephants. Also found here are Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Asian Black Bear, Lipped Bear, Asian Elephant, Chital, Sambar Deer, Ganges Gavial, Nilgó, Cobra, Indian Muntíaco, Wild Boar, Indian Porcupine, Cuon, Indian Buffalo and Goral .

2. Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam.

In the districts of Golaghat and Nagaon in Assam, is located the National Park Kaziranga, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The oldest park in the state, it extends over an area of ​​378 square kilometers and is incredibly limited by the powerful Brahmaputra.

The vegetation is notable for having a mixture of flooded grasslands comprising high thickets of elephant grass and short grasses, humid evergreen tropical forests and semi-evergreen tropical forests, which are divided into 4 different zones such as: Kaziranga Range, Bagori Range , Agaratoli mountain range and Burapahar mountain range. The elephant safari in the central region is fully operated by the government and is more productive compared to private safaris in other regions. The route is around 1.5-2 hours and is the best way to traverse the grassland is on elephant.

3. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh.

Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh.

In the state of Madhya Pradesh is the Bandhavgarh National Park with an extension of about 437 km, which carries in its name the meaning of “Brother’s Fort” due to the most prominent hill in the area, which, according to legend, It was given by the Hindu Lord Rama to his brother Lakshmana to maintain control over the island of Lanka.
The park is noted for its biodiversity, it is the largest home of the Bengal tigers known in India. It is also the habitat of more than 500 species, including 250 species of birds such as the variable eagle-hawk, Indian lapwing and eastern pipit.

The elephant safari is the most practical, as there are long and short routes. Officials direct the safari organizers to the exact location and, therefore, provide the perfect route to spot the beasts. Elephant Safari is ideal for this tiger tour. Those with a limited budget or with time restrictions can choose this short route instead of the long routes of the Safari. Trained elephants take you to the most remote areas with such ease and grace that you will surely get lost in the splendid beauty of the region.

Tours around the city in Elephants

 

Jaipur offers you the best tour that you can have in its majestic city and it is no more than on the backs of an elephant as it was once the luxurious saddle of the Maharajas and maharanis to head to the great Amber palace. A walk that today covers the best architectural wonders of Rajput, such as Amber Palace, the City of Amber, the Ancient Pink City and rural areas.

Regardless of the tourist agency, to buy the tickets for this trip you must respect the single rate of Rs1,000 (if there are two people). The duration of the tour is around 20-30 minutes (depending on the traffic of elephants!) So that the elephant can walk slowly down the slope towards the main courtyard.

Tips for an elephantine experience!

  1. Certain national wildlife parks and tours require an advance reservation and some use the concept of arrival order. Call and confirm with the officers about the safari.
    2. Safari in the parks will not be available throughout the year. Usually, safaris are closed during the monsoon season. Know the availability of the service.
    3. The safari can stretch for two or more hours. Always carry water with you.
    4. Do not pack too much. Your bag should be compact to be fixed on the back of the animal.
    5. Do not feed the elephant or try to ride it on your own.
    6. Once you’re on your back, treat it with respect. Kicking or hitting the animal can cause dangerous consequences.
    7. Some elephants are trained to bless people to place their trunks on their heads. Do not try to get blessings on your own without the coach.
    8. The best time to enjoy elephant rides, whether safaris or walks is during the winter (November-February).