One of the symbols of India, along with the temples and the pantheon of gods, is the elephant. Its images are found everywhere, the attitude to the animal is respectful, despite the fact that they are specially bred for hard work, tourist purposes. Individuals go to zoos in other countries. Elephants in Goa live in the north of the peninsula, one of the tourist attractions, which is in great demand, remains a visit to the elephant village and ride these good-natured giants.
Elephant Riding in Goa
Horses and donkeys, familiar to Europeans, are markedly inferior in size to elephants. When you arrive in Goa, it is worth planning a comprehensive tour that includes a trip to the famous Dudhsagar waterfall, a visit to a spice plantation and an elephant village. They are close by and you can go everywhere in one day.
There are several plantations where spices are grown. They are located mainly in North Goa, you can ride elephants as part of these excursions. A few animals are kept for tourists. First, an exotic meal with fragrant spices is offered, and then the journey itself begins in a world of aromas and unseen plants. It’s hard to guess the usual cinnamon sticks or peppercorns in the lush vines and sprawling shrubs.
Tourists are not allowed to enter the entire plantation area, but a small area where guides show the plants, talk about the peculiarities of their cultivation, demonstrate the finished product.
Looking at the efforts of the staff, in whose work little has changed over the centuries, it becomes clear why spices were so expensive. Cultivate:
Riding and bathing on elephants takes place after the excursion to the plantation. Indian animals are very good-natured, easy-going and almost impossible to get off, unlike their African counterparts. They are amazingly smart and will never hurt a child. With their original sense of humor, they like to fill their trunk with water and douse a gaping Hindu from head to toe, pretending that they had nothing to do with it.
There are two large plantations, Sakahari and Tropikal. The level of service, variety of entertainment and sightseeing program in English awaits tourists in Sahakari. Tropical is more adapted to the entertainment of the local population.
An unforgettable adventure awaits those who dare to ride an elephant. On the back of the animals is attached bench, resembling a garden bench, mounts for tourists is purely symbolic. Another possibility is to sit almost on the head of the animal, but there is nothing to hold on to. The saving grace is a leisurely stroll and the absence of low-hanging branches on the paths, from which you would have to dodge.
The ride lasts only 10 minutes and you have to pay 700 rupees. Bathing brings a huge amount of positive emotions. Elephants are very sensitive to fragile people, trying not to overstep their feet, so the entertainment is perfectly safe. The water treatment lasts 5-7 minutes and is on par with skating.
Depending on the season, prices may vary. If the influx of tourists is not expected, then ride an elephant for 400 rupees, and bathing will be cheaper by a hundred and will cost 600.
Alone with the Elephant
Organized tours are good with a clear route and no problems with travel. But they come with a lot of people and a strict time limit. If you want a more relaxed atmosphere, you should go to the elephant village in Goa in the afternoon or change the route dramatically.
The little-known spice plantation near the village of Molem has few tourists, but it generates as much income as its advertised counterparts. Here you can book an hour-long walk and have a good time with the elephant without too much fuss and rush for 6,000 rupees.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Bondla is considered one of the pristine natural areas on the peninsula, located in the eastern part of the state near the town of Ponda. This is the most famous reserve in southern Goa, where there are tours and you can see elephants in the wild. In order not to disturb the animals, independent visits to the reserve are limited. Working hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The cost of a visit is made up of several items:
- entrance to the territory is 20 rupees;
- bike fare – 25;
- the possibility of shooting – 30.
In addition to elephants it is interesting to look at the eco-village, walk along hiking trails, relax among the splendor of the English park and botanical garden. You can have lunch in the restaurant, and the necessary information can be found on the stands or in the library. There are thematic excursions for tourists, local students and schoolchildren on the territory of the reserve.
The elephant village is 40 km from the waterfall. There are almost no lines, but you can catch two or three of the elephant tribe. A mat or rug is laid instead of a saddle, and you have to sit behind the mahout, but you can see everything perfectly well from the height, with the jungle stretching all around you. You can’t get far away, the elephant makes a lap of honor in about 10 minutes. It takes much longer to land on this giant and then slide down from it.
A small elephant site can be found near the night market in Arpora, but it is a mobile point, specially coming there, you can not catch anyone.
Elephant tours are available in South and North Goa and are popular and part of most tourist programs covering the state’s attractions.