Elephant Ride? CHECK.

No visit to Jaipur is complete without a trip to the Amber Fort!  The kids heard about the elephant ride up to the fort… and once they heard, there was no going back.

As much as we eschew tourist traps, some things you just have to do once.

For the kids.  Of course.

Had the price not been negotiated by locals, I think the ride up would have been more.   We paid 900 rupees total  (roughly US $20) for the experience.

The pricing made me wonder: how much does a handler have to make in a day to feed and care for an elephant (not to mention himself and his family)?

I know folks who refuse to ride an elephant (or camel, for that matter) for reasons of cruelty and mistreatment.  To that end, for a good discussion about the elephant rides, go here.

Here are our Indian friends, waving and laughing at us.  Silly tourists.

They didn’t go up to the fort by elephant… just us.

So, off we go.  On an elephant.  The ride is bumpy.   The elephant must have reminded Kate of our car journeys in India, where she often becomes nauseous from the combination of sitting low in the seat (can’t quite see out of the window) and the rough ride.  When she complains of nausea, we tell her that she is a little “car-sick.”  So, after a few minutes on the elephant, Kate declares: “I am getting a little elephant-sick.”

Many of the elephants are painted and decorated.

The view is excellent.

After a little while, it hit me just how high we were on the elephant… and just how easily he could throw us off if he should wish to rid himself of the extra weight.

We found that it was an elephant rule that they must meet to pass each other in the narrowest areas of the inclined path.  It is also an elephant rule to snort only when the truck is upright, thereby projecting volumes of elephant snot on all downwind riders.

We saw the saffron gardens — this is where Jaipur’s royalty grew saffron in the star-shapes of the garden below.

The lake had been dry for almost a decade, the result of poor monsoon rains.  But this year’s monsoon was very good — hence, a nice lake.  There were birds taking off all around and flying about the lake and the gardens.

Finally, we entered the fort!

Here is a picture Bela took of us all on the elephant, making our way around the entrance.