Dispatches from India – Elephant ride in Jaipur

So I have been writing about traveling to India with a toddler, and let me tell you if you are in the North, this is an absolute must do. We drove to Jaipur ( a four hour, quite comfortable drive) and landed up at Amer Fort. The babe was super excited. Whenever we had discussed India in the US or on the way over, this was what the babe had been waiting for. We had gone to Delhi Zoo and seen all the animals, and the babe even got to see elephants on the roads, but no rides so far. Anyway, Amer is just outside Jaipur towards Delhi. Oh, and quick tip – we stopped at a Cafe Coffee Day about 50 km from Jaipur and had a wonderful lunch on sandwiches and some great coffee. So when we reached the fort, and pulled in to the parking lot, we were surrounded by guides. In a fleeting moment, I felt almost like dear old Britney with so many people thrusting their faces into the closed window glasses. Some speaking Bangla – ‘Kolkata theke eshchen, bangali?’, some playing the educated card ‘I have masters, I know everything’, some playing the local card ‘many years in Jaipur, can show everything’. My dad ended up choosing one based on what I dont know, but he led us to this huge area which was an elephant stable. There were so many elephants inside. The babe who had just woken up from his car induced nap had eyes wide with amazement. Outside were a few with their mahouts. Now, there is actually a registered office where you pay for the ride and only two adults can get on, both of which made me feel better about it.

So you have to climb up this single story podium to get onto the elephant. I didnt quite realize this. Once you are at the top of the stairs, you get just a couple of minutes to climb on the elephant and you dont get to see its face then or once you are up on it. So make sure you get a good snap and look at your ride before you climb on. Now the guide told us to sit facing the same way, but dont do that. To balance the elephant better, its easier if you sit facing opposite sides. But only the one facing the podium gets the view as you climb up the fort, so I guess thats why the guide told us.Well, my mom, the babe and I climbed on while my dad took snaps. He would drive up with the guide to the fort and meet us there – because the elephants take you up but dont bring you down. You can walk down or get another ride.

So my mom, dead serious about her responsibilities as grandma, clung to the babe for dear life. So tightly, and with his face so close to her that I was wondering if he was able to see anything at all. Meanwhile the elephant ambled up the slope swinging us from side to side. As he made his way up the slope we swung back treacherously. fearing that all the babe would see on the elephant ride was my moms sweater I began pulling him away. The ensuing tussle on his back made our elephant so nervous that the mahout had to ask us to take our positions 🙂 But the babe loved it.

We climbed the side of the fort – it is a long ride looking at the lake gardens and fountains below and jaipur in the distance and some boys selling puppets. At the top we ‘unboard’ in the courtyard, and if you tip the Mahout, the elephants gives you a special salute and you get to pet him. The skin is so thick and hairy! A mammal after all,

Later, after a whirlwind tour of the fort ( the babe had to be carried, which reduced the distance we could cover) the guide took us to another house with a courtyard that housed 6 elephants. Only one was at home, and the babes favorite memory is talking to the elephant and petting him. The elephant had a bunch of branches near him which he hadnt eaten, and it charmed the babe that the elephant doesnt finish his lunch too, just like our babe and his pasta!

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5 Comments

  1. winfried

    WOw Kushi, thank you for sharing your experience. One place I would like to visit is Bollywood. I’ve watched Indian movies and love the dancing with the sticks. I wish I knew more about Indian culture i”m pretty sure I’ll learn a lot from this site!!

    Regards

  2. Priya

    Winfried, I went to see Taj Mahal last year.It was awesome..I didnt get a chance to go to Jaipur..Heard its great.. There is a hotel which is a palace..My cousin had stayed there…Khushi, do you know about that hotel?

  3. Khushi Mommy

    Yes, Priya that hotel is called Rambagh palace hotel. Thats where all the Bollywood stars also stay there. Winfried, Its so funny that you watched those dances 🙂 You know, Bollywood is in Mumbai but there is no actual place to see it unlike Hollywood. Funny thing is seeing all that dancing you will think that we Indians break into dance at the slightest provocation, but it doesnt happen that way 🙂

  4. Khushi Mommy

    Hey Winfried, if you read this, please write a post on your home country also. Would love to know about it.

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