Sunday, November 29, 2009

On the Shoulders of a Gentle Giant

Elephants enjoy a long and varied history in is an easy claim that the elephant and India are synonymous with one another. They have earned a place of respect in the fabric of India.....a timeline that dates back at least 5000 years.

It is hard to imagine India without the elephant, and vice-versa.

They were very hard workers, and I am told that they played a major role in the construction of many of the huge monuments that are found throughout India.....including the Taj Mahal.They were the preferred transportation of many of the Maharajah's......their size alone commands attention and respect.....for standing alongside it is easy to feel like a little person, regardless of your stature in society.

They play a huge role in the religion, as one of the most worshipped god's in India is Ganesh, the elephant headed god.

Today, while the Maharajah's now ride on the padded seats of a Mercedes Benz, many of those who climb aboard the back of one of these gentle giants are either grooms on their way to their awaiting bride, or those who have hired them for a safari along the periphery of Jim Corbett National Park, hoping to manage a glance at one of the 165 tigers that live in the area.Her name is "Larlee".....while I am not sure of the spelling, it is phonetically correct.....she is 30 years old, eats the stripped leaves from the sugar cane stalks and will live until she is around 80 years old.

While she is not adorned with the draping fit to carry a Maharajah,she still seems quite happy performing her daily treks into the jungle loaded with tourists to the area.So what did we see on our journey......monkeys, birds, lots of deer.....some spent antlers from a season ago.....and some tiger tracks.

We did not have any luck sighting a tiger on on journey, but the thrill of being on the back of an elephant provided enough excitement......truly an experience that everyone should have on a visit to India......and if you are from India, and have not visited the wonderful area that has been preserved for you to enjoy, please take the opportunity to will not be disappointed.


Erika Lalande said...

Great Photo!!

A Reason To Write said...

what great pictures!

Anonymous said...

This is so upsetting! This poor elephant is incredibly undernourished, almost half its normal weight. Its so badly undernourished parts of the head is sunken in. Terrible animal abuse!