elephant ride to amber fort

elephant ride to amber fort
update & disclaimer, we didn’t plan this activity ourselves- it was part of a tour which we
trusted to take us to good places with the best treatment of animals. we loved these
beautiful elephants and enjoyed the experience, but on future travels have sought out
rescue and safe haven animal sanctuaries to visit instead (in africa, etc). thanks!
riding elephants up to the 16th century amber fort 
was a highlight of our time in india. actually, it 
was a highlight of our year…and of our life!

not just because we rode elephants {does anyone not
have that on their bucket list???} but also because of the
setting where we rode them…& the experience all around. 

it was a full experience — from climbing the platform to
step onto the elephant, hearing hindi all around us, 
rocking back and forth in the little box on the elephant,
seeing the huge elephant ears flapping, and just feeling
like — is this real life??? it was so magical and i 
couldn’t stop smiling. i loved sharing it with chase most.
we ascended the hill to the fort by elephant ride views of 
jaipur’s original city walls and the gorgeous maotha lake 

below. the view almost didn’t look real as we rode up.

^^ i took this from the platform as we were 
just about to get on the elephant. i was so excited 
in this moment that i snapped this picture!!!!!!
^^ i love this panoramic that our new friend took and
sent to us — it shows the whole scene + us on the left!
^^ so excited that chase couldn’t open his eyes ;)
elephants are such graceful animals which i realized 
even more being so close up to them (and riding them!) 
i also love the paint — the one behind is my favorite.
here are a few gopro images of our ride::
^^ i know this looks staged but it isn’t — we’re both
just staring ahead in disbelief at what we are doing!
^^ my big big smile = happiest person in that moment!
^^ making it into the fort entrance at the end
our driver holding the gopro, hah ^^
^^ and, disembarking. thanks buddy for a great ride!

you’d think the highlight of an elephant ride is the actual 
ride, and then you get off and it’s over. in this case, the
amazing ride was just getting us to another amazing
experience – exploring amber fort. i would have been
so sad to get off the elephant if i hadn’t been so excited
to wander around one of the prettiest places i’ve seen.

we went into a hindu temple at the top, and it was
an amazing experience. our guide jas told us about
the significance of everything inside, he prayed, and
we walked up and got our bindi forehead dots meaning
we had visited the temple. as we were leaving, the guy
handed us these two beautiful leis and did namaste.
we took them a little confused, and walked back to our
guide who told us that each day the temple worker chooses
only one male & female to give these leis to. he said it is
always up to them, and that it was a blessing for our 
marriage…we’ll take it! it was memorable for sure.
{this heart shaped petal even fell out of it– love it!}

in love with this wall and feeling very decked out
so i had to go for the yoga / namaste pose ^^

^^ filming in the pretty archways + bindi dot selfie
the backside of the fort has a view of the hills and
wall built on it. this was gorgeous to take in and
looked like a mini great wall. i was loving the
hills + greenery after coming from dusty dehli!
^^ hi, cute one on the right
^^ really? i stared at this ceiling for ten minutes.
this mirror mosaic room sparkled so much in person ^^
after admiring the entire fort and watching the
elephants come and go, it was time for us
to take a crazy jeep ride down back to town.
^^ yes, he is crazy and hanging out of the back of 
a jeep on a road in india. and no, when we have 
kids i won’t let him do these things anymore :) 
^^ but i have to admit this is a pretty cool shot
of chase hanging out the jeep with elephants
walking right there on the road. adventure!
i had to pick out the prettiest elephant trinket to 
take home to remember this day by. also, thanks to 
our guide jas for setting this up! he knows his
way around india and helped us experience all
the best things. we highly recommend jas, jaipur,
and this elephant ride! it’s something we’ll remember
f o r e v e r.

24 thoughts on “elephant ride to amber fort”

  • that looks amazing! such a neat experience. i’ve secretly always wanted to visit an indian temple and get a bindi dot, such a fashion statement ;) it’s amazing how they share their culture so openly!
    also, i’m looking into buying a go pro, which one do you have and do you like it? :)

    xoxo, kiely
    p.s. you guys are such a cute couple!

    • they are amazing how they share their culture!
      we have the gopro 3 silver but probably upgrading it soon because it’s been well-used :)
      you’d love one, they are the best!

  • Love this post on your trip, looks exciting! Where did you find your guide? Was this an organized tour or did you put it together yourself? Thanks for sharing!

    • hi! it was an organized tour for most of it which i’ll talk more about — it was so nice to not have to worry about getting all around such a different place!!

    • haha yes it gets us some good shots, but i always have to tell chase to be careful and not accidentally smack anyone/anything when he reaches out with it! :)

  • This is such a great post. I am so impressed with the amber fort and how beautiful to enter it on elephants. I do enjoy seeing these beautiful animals in the wild.

  • It may be your dream to ride an elephant, but it is an elephant’s worst nightmare to be ridden. Here’s what goes into making an elephant “rideable”:

    First, an elephant calf is captured from the wild, tearing it away from its mother and herd – as well as from any chance it has of a free, wild life. This is illegal and can be termed as “poaching.”

    The calf is restrained in a small squeeze contraption called a kraal and starved and beaten for months. This brutal “breaking-in process” called katti azhikal or phajaan, is intended to destroy the calf’s natural, wilful spirit and to instil so much fear in the young calf that it will allow humans to ride it for fear of suffering the same pain again.

    The elephant then spends the rest of its life living in constant fear- beaten frequently and regularly to reinforce the “training”. Furthermore, the elephant then is kept in isolation for all its life with no or little interaction with other elephants. This is psychologically detrimental for the elephant, causing it to become withdrawn and unhappy, and in turn engaging in stereotypic behaviour.

    Once in captivity, these elephants are often neglected and poorly cared for. They receive little or no veterinary care; their nutrition is compromised and they have restricted access to water. These captive elephants are housed on concrete floors, where they are chained for extended periods of time, often standing in their own dung and urine. This leads to foot rot and many diseases.

    The very act of riding is cruel – an elephant’s back was not designed to carry weight and yet the weight of the carrier, the mahout/keeper and the tourists on its back can put an intense amount of pressure on the animal’s spine. These weights can often exceed 200-400 kilograms of the ‘howdah’ and in addition to it the weight of the mahout and three adult passengers easily exceeds 600 kilograms—causing sores bruises, cuts and deformities in the animal’s back, but most importantly it leads to early arthritis and severe joint pains.

    Illegality persists in the elephant riding industry despite strict laws, with owners unashamedly flouting rules and lacking requisite ownership paperwork – taking advantage of the difficulty of enforcement to break all welfare and conservation laws.

    • thanks for your comments! we definitely were not educated on this a few years ago at the time of this trip – we were traveling with a tour group who we trusted to take us to good places, and wrongly assumed this was a good one. they tell you what you want to hear at the time, and now i would never go to one of these. we didn’t plan it or look into it ourselves which we definitely should have. you’re amazing to advocate for animals and on all future travels we will only find safe haven places to visit. i will update this post to make sure it’s clear that we don’t support or advocate poor practices for animals! and the comment above is my mom, who was living in south africa at the time and that is what she meant by she loves seeing them in the actual wild :) XO

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