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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Elephant Trekkers – The Mahouts

The most exciting experience of tiger safari in Central Indian tiger reserves are of course the elephant rides which take you into the deep recess of the jungles. Albeit long rides on elephant back is a thing of the past with only Bandhavgarh offering it? This long ride is subject to availability and to current policies of the reserve. And exorbitantly costly affordable only by those who are cash rich.

Nevertheless tiger safari on elephant back can still be enjoyed for a short distance during the tiger shows. During tiger show you are taken on an elephant back from your vehicle to the spot where the tiger has been cordoned by a group of park elephants. One can enjoy elephant safari at Bandhavgarh tiger reserve, Kanha and Pench National Park in Central Indian tiger reserves.

Elephants bear the gruel of the rough terrain and a difficult routine so do their riders or mahouts. The routine starts at perhaps four in the morning in winters it is freezing cold. The elephants are fed by the mahouts and then saddled if you may call it that.

In the National Parks wild tiger trekking on elephant begins immediately at predawn in the darkness of the night. As expert trekkers that elephant drivers are they succeed often. With a clue here and there a pug mark fresh, alarm calls of distressed deer or a tiger roar whatever. Picking these clues the mahouts ride deep into the inaccessible forest and trek down the tiger.

The communication between the elephant and his driver is a matter of marvel. The team work that whole lot of driven elephants and their drivers is a marvel again. By the time the tiger is located and shown to you much of trekking has been done. Keeping the located tiger at one place is again demonstration of the mahouts skill and the resilience of their animal.

It is not easy to keep the tiger at one place yet they succeed amazingly. If the tiger gets restive they manage to hold him for a long time till beyond a certain point he is wisely let go off.

Elephant ride in through the dense canopy of dagger like and equally menacing bamboo clumps, steep rocky inclines and twisting water beds is an experience never to be avoided. Though petrifying at times you will relish the thrill of this elephant ride. Trust Me!
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