Morning after jeep safari at Manas National Park, we were booked for an elephant safary. In elephant safary, three tourists ride on elephant back. Elephant takes them to areas of the park where jeep cannot go. Usually a safary is for one hour duration. Tourists are asked to go up the launching post, a raised area. Elephants are trained to come close to the elevated structure and stand still. A pad is strapped on elephants back, tourists are asked to ride elephant seated as if on a horse back.
Our elephant was called Lakshmibala. She was fifty year old. She was a private employee. Each day she consume 10 kg chana, a few banana tree, and any tree or shrub she feels like eating while on safary. After we were seated on elephant back, Lakshmibala started moving at mahouts prodding. Her move was slow paced with body swaying like a boat on choppy sea.
Meanwhile, the wild inhabitants of the park sniggered at government employed elephant. We heard their neigh from a distance. But they' did not reveal themselves. Laxmibala also let out an elephant grunt every now and then. I am not sure if it was because of discomfort of carrying three urbanites or she was actually talking to her freelancer cousins.
Meanwhile, my thigh muscle started getting cramps. So it was an uncomfortable slow ride on elephant back. Forget about taking photo, I somehow managed to remain seated and hoped the ride would end soon. We captured the shadow of elephant with three tourist on top.
By the way, from the speed at which elephant moved, I wonder how people would go to war riding an elephant? Ofcourse, I understand those were battle trained elephants. Still it was not a comfortable ride. I was glad when it ended. Coming off the elephant back with cramped tight muscle was another ordeal.