We travelled around quite a bit in India and one of the places we visited was Jaipur. It was short overnight stay and very full on from start to finish.
During this time we had planned to do an elephant ride. I was adamant on not doing a ride where you sit in one of those boxes on top of the elephant.
After doing a little research and reading mostly positive reviews, I found Elefantastic. Although a bit on the pricey side (Rs.4500 cash only), this elephant farm seemed to offer the best solution for spending the day with an elephant in what seemed like a harmless location.
I organised it with the owner, Rahul, less than 24 hours before arriving in Jaipur. He was very quick in answering my emails and provided extensive information about the experience and possible itineraries you can do whilst in Jaipur.
The whole experience is set to last 4 hours and you are able to get up close and personal with your elephant.
We were picked up from our hotel and taken to Rahul’s family home, where we were greeted by his mother. She cooked us a very tasty vegetarian meal before we headed off to the farm. The farm is located in a rural location with lots of land around it.
Before meeting our elephant we were welcomed in by Rahul himself. He took us over to our elephants where he explained where the elephants like to be touched and to keep eye contact with them so they could feel comfortable in our presence. Between the three of us we were given two elephants – one for my mum and I and one for my brother.
We started off by feeding the elephant. Elephants can eat a lot! I don’t know how long we were feeding them for but we could have fed for hours I reckon.
Next we were given the opportunity to paint our elephant’s skin. We were told the paint was completely safe and would cause no harm to the elephant. We carefully decorated our elephant turning them into a vibrant work of art.
After adorning our elephants in our “masterpieces”, it was time to wash and scrub them down. According to new guidelines from the Forest Department of India, we weren’t allowed to bathe them in the lake. Instead we showered them and gave them a scrub on the farm grounds. You are able to sit on the elephant’s back at this point while they shower you from their trunks.
We finished the experience with a bareback ride around the farm. You are able to ride the elephant without any saddle, but after going around the village for 30 minutes, I think you’ll find the cushioning useful.
Included in the Rs. 4500 is pick up and drop off from your hotel, meal, non-alcoholic drinks, paint, photography/ videography and service tax.
All in all, despite not feeling so well on the day (case of that “Delhi belly” as my brother kept calling it), the experience was something that could not be replicated.