We rode elephants through the park this morning for two hours, my first elephant ride ever and our Mahout was called Junge Dai or Jungle Brother with his elephant Lakshmi, also the name of our guide Tak Bir’s daughter!
In Hindi, Hathi means Elephant. It is also the name of the head of the elephant troop in Rudyard Kipling’s – The Jungle Book. Ndovu is the Swahili word for elephant.
The rest of the group had an elephant called Beauty who blessed me with her trunk on the top of my head after the ride
Great experience, saw some monkeys, deer and peacocks…no tigers or rhinos but for me it was about the experience of the ride, touching the trees with my feet and seeing things from on top of an elephant…
Loved it, but what I loved even more was learning about the Mahouts and their chosen paths. Anna knew a lot from her travels in Thailand and said there is a bond here that cannot be broken with the elephant and its Mahout – They sleep, eat and do everything together, that’s why Mahuts apparently don’t have great sex lives…that’s according to Anna!
Junge Dai said he met Lakshmi when he was 10 years old and it’s not an easy life.
He said he has no feeling in his big toes as that his how him and Lakshmi communicate when riding. He also hat to keep hitting her on the head with a stick that she apparently hardly feels. His big toes get wedged in her ears somewhere and are as hard as rocks but completely dead!
I wonder if ballerinas and mahuts can share stories about their chosen paths and what that has done to their feet.
Mahouts are a different breed of man, certain code of conduct they follow and honour – the people of the Elephant.
We visited an elephant breeding site that made me feel uncomfortable seeing all the elephants chained up, even the calves.
We can’t chain our African elephantsor tame them for that matter but the Indian ones are different. Just as my African peoples are so like my Indian ones, there is a wilder streak back in Africa and that’s just the way it is, I guess!
Also experienced my first canoe ride along the river and saw glimpses of three crocodiles lurking just beneath the surface of the river.
Seeing them confirmed just how mysterious these creatures are, great beasts that silently hide under the brown of the river water and none would be the wiser (Vesaka Dream)!
Beautiful day, good dinner and could feel my moon calling, so went to bed early as the next day was an early morning start to Lumbini – Buddha’s birthplace.
Oh and when we came back to the lodge a few fireflies came to bid us a goodnight … love fireflies!!