On our trip to the interior mountains of Kerala we stopped at an elephant training camp. these elephants are taken and/or rescued from the wilderness and trained how to be either temple elephants (giving blessings like I received in Puducherry) or work animals (ike water buffalo – hauling wood or clearing etc). If you go down to this river at 8 am you can watch them bring 2 adult and 2 youngsters to the water for their daily scrub and bath! And you can ”help” too.
so these pictures are of the washing process. the river was clear and beautiful. and while the drivers were bathing the little ones, they were interspersing the time with mini-lessons – pick up right foot, turn to the left, roll over, put your trunk up etc. it looks like a long process that takes lots of patience – sometimes the driver would tap the left foot with a little stick and say “xyz” over and over and over again – until finally the elephant lifted his left foot. the little elephant’s back are about as high as me and of course the full grown ones are enormous, so a consistent and firm training is necessary as really – the truth is – no one can stop an elephant if it decides to do something and no one can make an elephant do something it does not want to do! they are very big and powerful.