Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Elephants in the River

We'd been hearing nice things about Jim Corbett National Park. The kids had an unexpected day off from school (not so unusual), so we headed north by car to the neighboring state of Uttarakhand. Chauhan drove us. He seemed to enjoy the drive as Uttarakhand is his home state. We stayed in a great little resort called "Tiger Camp." It's right on the river bordering the eastern edge of Corbett.
Our lodging was lush and jungle-like. Tiger Camp had great service, was very tidy and had good food. Since it was chilly at night there was a camp fire to keep us warm with guitar/singing to entertain us.Audrey and Evan enjoyed cutting loose... There were safe paths to explore in the lodge compound and each morning we walked down to the rocky shore of the river. There we would see many birds and even troops of monkeys coming down for a drink. This was by far the clearest, cleanest water we have seen in India.
While were were exploring the rocks and winding our way up the shoreline we heard an odd noise behind us.We looked back behind us and there to our surprise was a male elephant standing all by himself on the rocks in the middle of the river! As we got closer, we realized there was a second elephant as well! Their mahouts had brought them down for a drink (a very large drink) and a morning bath!
We all stood with our mouths wide open as one of these gentle giants walked right past us, up the middle of the river. Then the two started playing in the water - splashing, and spraying, "trumpeting" and making large waves with their trunks. Such a pleasure to watch them enjoying the river.
We became alarmed when the mahouts started throwing rocks at the two elephants. They seemed to think "bath time" was over, but the elephants definitely had other plans... The elephants ignored the two ranting mahouts. Stones just bounced off the elephants' thick hides with a thud - the animals just kept right on ignoring their keepers, and continued to play in the cool rush of the water...
When we finally left the scene, the elephants were still nudging one another and splashing in the middle of the river. They seemed to enjoy this moment of freedom and defiance - turning their large elephant-rumps towards their still very upset mahouts!


jenzim said...

That is so awesome. Mazzy and Artie are still continually wanting to come back to India. Mazzy had a picture of her and Audrey from Halloween in a frame in her room until last week. It has now been exchanged with an ornament we have that we put a picture of Audrey and Evan in. It is on the little tree that is in Mazzy and Artie's room. We hope you guys are trying to have a nice Holiday season down in India. We miss you.

HouseBoy said...

Thanks. We are doing well... the apartment is decorated for Christmas, we have our little tree (Audrey and Evan decorated it), Some lights (left over from Diwali) and the stockings are up!