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Photography - Mahout - Amer Fort 006

Amer Fort Mahout :

A mahout is an elephant rider, trainer, or keeper. Usually, a mahout starts as a boy in the family profession when he is assigned an elephant early in its life. They remain bonded to each other throughout their lives. The word mahout derives from the Hindi words mahaut and mahavat, and originally from the Sanskrit mahamatra.

Another term is cornac or kornak, which entered many European languages via Portuguese. This word derives ultimately from the Sanskrit term karināyaka, a compound of karin (elephant) and nayaka (leader). In Tamil, the word used is pahan, which means “elephant keeper”, and in Sinhalese kurawanayaka (stable master). In Malayalam the word used is paappaan.

There are approximately 80 elephants, which carry up 900 visitors per day. There is a limit to the total number of journeys each elephant can do in a day and this has been introduced to prevent over working the elephants, and possible animal cruelty. It is therefore recommended to visit the Amer Fort early in the day (before 9:00 am), to guarantee a ride and avoid the queues. During the tourist season most of the elephants have finished their quote of rides by 11:00 am. As there is such demand for the rides there is no chance of haggling the price down.

On the way up, the driver will ask for a significant tip either for himself or to feed the elephant, while a photographer will appear to take a photo and pester the tourist later. The elephant rides are in only one direction heading from the car park up to the main courtyard. The welfare of the elephants has significantly improved, but the tourist facilitates have not. Many visitors find themselves stood for a long time, under the intense sun waiting for a ride. It is strongly advised to arrive early!

We our self experienced the pestering of those photographers offering us our photos at crazy prices. What an irony we our self took our own photos and they want to sell our photos to us.

But at least the Jaipur government ensures that the animals are healthy and performs routine inspections. Things are still not perfect, as herders can be aggressive towards the elephants and do hit them, while the hot summer weather is also punishing for the animals. The attitude with the animals in India is not the same, as in the western countries and certain visitors may be disgusted by the treatment.

More photos of Amer Fort here.

Our group trip photos in Instagram.

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