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Tag: Jaipur

The Elephants of Jaipur

Elephant bulls aren’t kept in the elephant barn. Cows are more cooperative.

During British rule, elephants were put to work clearing the very forests from which they’d been captured. Timber was in huge demand for the new rail system of India.

By the time the British left, much of the forests of northern India were destroyed. Since then, poachers and tuskers and population growth have all taken a toll. As farming expands, elephants have little habitat remaining. Elephants in the wild now ravage farmers’ fields to find food. Villagers chase them back as best they can to save their crops.

Elephants are still domesticated for heavy construction. Others give rides as tourist attractions.

Our best choices preserve the land and the integrity and stability of its animals. These elephants may or may not have better lives than their cousins in the wild. I’m certain they have better lives than most livestock raised and killed in cruel conditions in the US.

We did not ride the elephants of Jaipur.

Along the Road in India

We did a fair amount of travel while in India. Delhi to Agra to Jaipur to Rishikesh and back to Delhi. Mile after mile along the roadways we saw carts with fruits and vegetables and potatoes, little tobacco carts, boys playing cricket, and open air cafes.

We saw men lying on cots in the heat of the day, crouched under trucks during a brief rain, splashing themselves with water from a pump, peeing beside trees, and talking in groups at cafes.

We saw women carrying packages the size of coffee tables on top of their heads.

We saw cows, dogs, mules, bison, monkeys, sheep, goats, and camels. We saw cars, vans, trucks, buses, motorcycles, rickshaws, bicycles, and tuk tuks. Lots and lots of people walking.

People honk their horns all of the time in India. Honking means something different in India than in the States. In the US, a horn might mean “Don’t pull out in front of me, you Nimrod!” or “Hurry up! The light turned green already!” or “We’re about to crash, you idiot!”

In India, honking isn’t so aggressive. A honk seems to mean, “There’s a sliver of road between you and that bus and since I’m obligated to squeeze past I thought I’d let you know by honking my horn.”

I will never understand how all the traffic and animals and people coexist as successfully as they do on the roads of India.

Faces of India, part 2

Faces of India, part 1