Very few countries in the world have a population of elephants, and India is one among them. Only three states in the nation, i.e., Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala have a good number of elephants; the remaining states house only a small number of this giant yet adorable animal. Elephants are very loving by nature; you can spend hours with them without feeling tired. Just like any other animal shelters in India and abroad, some places mistreat the animals and force them to perform.
This inhuman treatment of the elephants repels most people, and they do not like to see any performances by these poor animals. However, a few places in India treat the elephants properly without forcing them to present an act. In fact, these places encourage interaction between the elephants and tourists. You can also go to the rehabilitation centers set up for bringing up elephants in a positive way.
Wildlife S.O.S. Elephant Conservation and Care Center, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
Mathura is a place where elephants are seen as gods, and Wildlife S.O.S. works as a non-profit organization to save and protect wildlife in India. It gives the medical cure to sick and injured elephants that are compelled to work in cities. The organization also works for the rescue of abused elephants, and they are sent to the sanctuaries later. Visitors who go there cannot stop their hearts from melting when they see the beautiful animals living in a positive environment under the care of dedicated staff. You can book a tour in advance to feed and bathe the elephants in warm weather.
Smiling Tusker Elephant Camp, Manas, Assam
The periphery of Manas National Park in Assam accommodates an elephant camp, which was started by a bunch of local youth. Assam has an ancient ritual of working with these giant creatures, and the state has a large populace of captive elephants. Since the demand for elephants and their services has drastically gone down in the last few years, the mahouts or the elephant keepers have to resort to begging to upkeep the elephants. The Smiling Tusker Elephant Camp cares for the elephants and gives them a monthly compensation. In order to encourage the organization, the government acclaimed it as a Runner-Up participant in the category of Wildlife Tourism Related Community Initiative of the Year for the Sanctuary and Travel Operators for Tigers 2014 Wildlife Tourism Awards.
To encourage the visitors to come here, the Smiling Tusker organizes a mahout camp that showcases the way of living of mahouts and grass-cutters, an exhibition center, a museum, and a resting and feeding area for elephants. The visitors can learn about the elephant heritage of Assam, bathe and feed the animals, take a ride, and live like tribal residents in the area.
Elefantastic, Jaipur, Rajasthan
While going to Amer Fort, do take out some time to visit Elefantastic, which is a habitat for the mahouts and elephants, situated in an elephant village. The owner of this place, Rahul, belongs to the fourth generation of mahouts. He set up this elephant place to let the visitors interact with the animals as they are kept untied. Elephantastic houses more than twenty elephants, six of which were rescued from circuses and other torturous places. The visitors are allowed to bathe the elephants, feed them, and color them using non-toxic paints. The hosts share their knowledge about the Ayurvedic medications, let you spend a night with the elephants at the farm, and take a ride on them. Other cheaper options of elephant farms are available in Jaipur, but they mistreat the animals, unlike Elephantastic that costs a little higher to upkeep the elephants properly.