Sunday 8 April 2018

Dubari elephant camp.

We set off for Dubari on the third leg of the trip, happy that we had seen a wild tiger. Another two hours were spent in the car and to break the journey, Arjun suddenly dropped us off outside a Tibetan Buddhist temple. It was the middle of the day and even walking through the entrance was difficult under the hot sun.
We could see an ornate temple that was huge and could hear a very loud chanting, singing, drumming noise and horns blowing. Milo was absolutely terrified and refused to move. When he was used to the sound, which is a low vibrating noise with tinging of bells and then a blast of high pitched horns, we moved forward and managed to stand outside a building that had lots of monks sitting on the floor . They were the ones making the noise. It was quite strange and not like anything that we had heard before.
Before we wilted in the heat, we decided to go and find Arjun and to carry on.

We had booked into a simple airbnb and arrived full of hope. The previous accommodation had been beautiful and this place had good reviews.

I would like to meet the people who wrote the reviews as they obviously have a difference of opinion of what is considered to be comfortable and clean.

To cut a very long story short by the evening we were booked into a posh hotel that had clean sheets, toilet roll and towels. The airbnb seemed to only have one towel and it was wrapped around a naked man's waist !

The next day, we set off early from the posh hotel armed with spare clothes, to go to visit the elephant rescue centre. We went in a jeep, crossed a river in a small boat and then were taken to an open sided restaurant overlooking the river.

After a lovely breakfast, our guide took us to the elephants. We had paid for a private tour and so had a private area to wash the elephants in the river. It was wonderful. It meant we had to go barefoot in the squishy part of the river (probably pooh underfoot) and throw water on the elephants and scrub the mud off them. They were so happy and relaxed, it was amazing.

The guide explained that the elephants are mainly male and were considered rogue elephants, often in trouble for killing people in the wild. The elephants are taken and put in a stockade, made of tree trunks for a year with its own personal mahout (a local tribesman trained in elephant handling). The mahout never leaves the elephant and gradually teaches it the commands so it will cooperate. If they don't do this then the elephant would be destroyed.

There were 27 elephants there and they can cater for more if need be. They are on display but only a few at a time for 3 hours and then the elephants go off into the forest to feed and roam around by themselves. Later ( about 4 ) they are brought back for another bath and a bit of display.  The elephants do have chains on one ankle but this is for control in the camp, but they are treated with respect and obviously are very important to all the staff at the camp.

We also got the chance to feed the elephants, to be blessed by one using his trunk and have a photo taken with them.

Had we realised that we were so close to camp the day before when we had our airbnb mishap, we would have booked in here because there are small lodges overlooking the river. They are furnished simply but very clean ( and they had towels!) The guide let us look around one.

We then went a a guided tour through the forest to learn about the plants, trees and animals of the forest. I wasn't keen on the - don't go off the path and stand on the dry leaves as that is where the vipers hide and its quite a way to the hospital -warning . The man was so interesting and knowledgable but again we found ourselves walking in the midday heat and we were flagging.

After a very good Indian meal, we crossed the river in the little boat and were back in the jeep. Andrew and the boys thought it would be good to stand up at the back and hold onto the bars as the chap went as fast as he could along the bumpy road. they made it back alive and intact, thank goodness .

Now all we faced was the six hour trip back to Bangalore !

Update ! April 2024

  20 people sharing 2 menus! When we go to a restaurant, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to keep a straight face so that we do not ups...