Roadside market along the way

Workers in the fields

Crossing the monsoon swollen river

Elephant boarding platform

A lumbering elephant

The 8 year old elephant driver

Dubare Elephant Camp, India

Riding an Elephant

June 30, 2013


The opportunity to ride elephants was certainly enticing but pulling into the car park and seeing the long row of vehicles I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be the type of “wild” experience that the long drive had hinted at. I still held out hope that it would be better across the monsoon swollen river where the elephants were. Sadly it was just a touristic experience with two nonplussed elephants lumbering around in circles, loaded down with people on their backs.

Apparently in India you can drive an elephant when you are 8 years old. Our elephant driver weighed less than the elephant when it was born and sat deftly on its head. Whether this was an attempt to win the affection of tourists or to the benefits of child labor I do not know. He was happy to take pictures and pose with the elephant but hopefully he spends his weekdays in school rather than driving elephants in circles.

The one thing I did learn was that you can’t make an elephant do anything it doesn’t want to do. As it was mid-day all the other elephants were off-limits, have already performed their daily bathing routines, they must have reached their quota. This meant that there was literally nothing else to see, kind of a rip-off even for the 20 rupees general admission.