A fun thing to do when visiting Goa is bath an elephant. We went to the Tropical Spice Plantation for the elephants (we visited another spice plantation for the spice tour). Two in our party took a brief elephant ride. Three of us went to bath an elephant.
The elephant was already in the water and we waded in and one at a time, climbed on his back. His skin was rough and a little fuzzy. Soon he lifted his water-filled trunk and sprayed it back on us. We were drenched.
You can spend as much time as you want with the elephants and feed them as well. All of the elephants looked well-cared for so I would not hesitate to recommend a visit here.
I'm not a person who enjoys organised trips but I made an exception for this and it was well worth it! I was picked up from my hotel at 9:30am for a what turned out to be a very busy two days. Our first stop was a spice plantation, where we did the usual tour and had a pleasant lunch. Then it was on to the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary in the north of Goa to the Shanti Nature Resort. Accomodation is in mud huts whose walls are covered with elephant dung (apparently it keeps the mozzies away), each hut has electricity, a western syle toilet and a shower. We then had an elephant ride and a walk into the local village and also to the Mahadeva Temple before a lovely evening meal and then an elephant show/lecture. A camp fire was lit and a sing-song began with some of the corniest songs that you could possibly imagine. At this point I beat a very hasty retreat to bed with the excuse that we were getting up at 5:30am for an early morning walk to the waterfalls. On our return from the walk we had an introductory yoga session in front of the 13th century temple. This was a fantastic setting and it allowed you to also appreciate the architecture of this temple (or at least I did once I had untied the knots from my body). After breakfast we watched the elephants in a working environment before moving off to the "elephant island". We reached the island via bamboo rafts and for me, this was probably the highlight of the trip as we got to watch the elephants play in the water, bathe them as well as having an elephant style power shower. Finally it was back on the coach and a return to the hotel at 5:30pm. A fantastic trip that I would recommend to anyone. If you don't fancy staying overnight they do a day trip called Elephant Jungle but not all activities are included and I would imagine that it could be very tiring.
While on a trip to the highland area in the east of Goa we had a chance to help bathe some elephants, which was great fun. You can just stay on the river bank and watch, but it's more fun to volunteer to sit on an elephant's back. They love to shower the tourists with very cold water from their trunk - a good way to cool off on a hot day!
After the elephants had finished their bath we petted then and gave them a small treat, then returned to the river for a proper swim. If you want to do the same I recommend you take a light sarong as you may not get a chance to change afterwards and even if you do the sarong can double as a towel to dry off a little – the hot sun will take care of the rest.
ok, you have a few options here to see the elephants ranging in price.
1. If you really feel its necessary to sleep with mozzies in a tent near some stinky elephants then go for the Elephant Camp..hugely over priced, so do some research.
2. If like the rest of us you just want to see the elephant and maybe if you feel brave touch and sit on its back then you can go to one of our 3 local elephants.
Arpora - Rhukmani is usually found near Arpora, she is a medium size(my favorite)
Baga - Jayshri - the smallest one
Candolim beach road - laxmi the biggest elephant usually hangs out here.
You just need to approach the monk like elephant keepers and offer a donation. Please be reasonable, these guys walk miles and miles with the elephants daily (Laxmi lives at a temple near Mapusa), so offer them a couple hundren Rupees or more. I think this is the best and most affordable option.
3. Spice Plantation - you dont need to come here to do the spice tour (altho its really good), you can also just head to the back of the spice gardens and pay Rs 500/- to either sit on or wash with the elephants..beware: the elephants are really old and will go to the toilet in the water!! huge yellow craps are floating about..
we did an over night trip called Jungle Book with jewel in the Crown but I believe you can book it with other operators. They take you to an elephant sanctuary on the boarder with the next state via a spice plantation. You sleep in mud huts which was a great experience alone! The interation with the elephants was amazing, you get to ride them, feed them watermelon & bath one of them. The feeding was fantastic as you are right there next to them putting it in to their trunks or mouths.
You also see inside a local persons house & there is a temple a short walk away where there is optional yoga early in the morning - very spiritual. This was the most amazing experience of my life - much better than swimming with dolphins.
The tour guide had been working with the elephants for years & knew everything.
On the way back to the coast you stop at the dusagar waterfalls where you feed the friendly monkeys on the way & swim in the bottom of the waterfall - the water was very cold!
A very special & unique experience - highly recommended!
THIS WAS PROBABLY MY FAVOURITE TRIP,JUST THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE WAS BOTH EYE OPENING &THRILLING,ALTHOUGH THE OTHERS TRIPS HAD THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL QUALITIES.WE SET OFF AT 7AM FOR DANDELI IN KARNATAKA WHICH IS INDIA.WE TRAVELLED OVER THE WESTERN GHATS AND LEFT GOA THROUGH SEVERAL CHECK POINTS.(THIS WAS THE MOST AMAZING JOURNEY IVE EVER BEEN ON ,WERE TALKING A GAME OF CHICKEN ON THE ROAD(WHO GETS OUT OF THE WAY 1ST)BETWEEN TRUCKS,COACHES,BUSES,CARS &MOPEDS)WE THEN STOPPED OFF AT A RESTAURANT FOR 1/2 HOUR. THEN CONTINUED OUR JOURNEY TO DANDELI(4 1/2 HOURS FROM GOA)TO CHECK IN OUR TRADITIONAL TENTS(WITH HAMMOCK).WE HAD LUNCH THEN IT WAS ON TO WHITE WATER RAFTING IN OUR JEEPS.THIS WAS AWESOME. WE HAD THE MAIN INSTRUCTOR WELSH ANDY, THIS GUY WAS JUST SO COOL AND MADE THE WHOLE THING SOMETHING WE WILL NEVER FORGET.TIME TO GET OUR BREATHES BACK &HEAD ON BACK FOR A CHANGE AND THEN DINNER FOLLOWED BY A SIT ROUND THE CAMP FIRE.NEXT DAY WHERE UP AT 5 & OFF FOR A JUNGLE SAFARI WHICH WAS GOOD AND LASTED 2 HOURS.IT WAS THEN BACK FOR BREAKFAST THEN ON TO WASH ,FEED&RIDE ELEPHANTS.AFTER THIS IT WAS BACK AGAIN,LUNCH AND THEN A CORACLE RIDE IN CROCODILE INFESTED WATERS WHICH WAS VERY GOOD.WE THEN CHECKED OUT AND HEADED BACK TO GOA WERE WE STOPPED OFF ON THE GHATS TO FEED MONKEYS. THIS IS ANOTHER TRIP WHERE YOUR CONSTANTLY ON THE GO,OUR GUIDE JERRY WAS BRILLIANT AS WAS HIS SIDE KICK I CANT REMEMBER HIS NAME HE WAS THE DRIVER.THE PEOPLE OF KARNATAKA WERE ALWAYS WAVING & SMILING & JUST DIDNT HAVE A CARE I GUESS THIS IS WHAT MADE IT SO SPECIAL!!!
HEAD OUT OF TOWN TOWARDS SPICE PLANTATION,THEN ITS ONTO RAFTS DOWN THE RIVER,AFTER ABOUT 30MINS YOU STOP OFF FURTHER DOWN STREAM,THIS IS WHERE YOU WASH THE ELEPHANTS THEN CLIMB ON THER BACKS &GET A POWER SHOWER!!THEN ITS LUNCH & FEED THE ELEPHANTS.AFTER THIS WE GET BACK ON RAFTS BACK TO SPICE PLANTATION,GET BACK ON THE COACH AND HEAD FOR SHANTI VILLAGE!WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT SHANTI,YOU THEN CHECK INTO YOUR MUD HUT (WHAT AN EXPERIENCE).YOU THEN GET AN ELEPHANT RIDE & A BULLOCK CART RIDE.ITS THEN YOU GET 20 MINS TO FRESHEN UP,THEN ITS A TOUR OF A TINY VILLAGE 10 MINS WALK FROM SHANTI.ITS THEN BACK TO SHANTI FOR ELEPHANT DEMONSTRATION AND THEN DINNER,THEN ITS A WALK TO THE OLDEST TEMPLE IN GOA BY FLAMING BRANCH LIGHT.AFTER THIS ITS A SING SONG ROUND THE CAMPFIRE WHICH IS FAB THEN ON TO BED BEFORE AN EARLY MORNING CALL @ 5AM FOR THE JUNGLE WALK.(YOU DONT HAVE TO DO THIS ITS UP TO YOU,CAN STAY IN BED UNTIL 8AM,BUT WE DID IT & IVE GOT TO SAY ITS BLOODY HARD WORK AFTER A LATE NITE ON BEER,MAKE SURE YOU TAKE PLENTY OF WATER WITH YOU AND HAVE DECENT WALKING FOOTWEAR)AFTER 2 HOURS DOING THIS ITS ON TO THE TEMPLE FOR YOGA,THIS IS A LAUGH.BACK TO SHANTI FOR BREAKFAST,THEN AN ELEPHANT SHOW.CHECK OUT OF MUDHUTS THEN ITS ON TO THE SPICE PLANTATION FOR A TOUR AND LUNCH(YOU JUST GOT TO TRY A PIRI PIRI CHILLI!!)AFTER THIS WE HEAD ON BACK. THERES A LOT TO THIS TOUR & YOUR CONSTANTLY ON THE GO,OUR GUIDE (THE APTLY NAMED HERCULES)WAS BRILLIANT. SO WE DEFINATLEY WOULD SAY DONT WHATEVER YOU DO MISS OUT ON THIS!!
This may be put on just for the tourists, but how else can you go on about 3 trips withing 2 days, and get to swim, shower and bathe with elephants? This was an experience in itself, nevermind the great time we had with the campfire, Spice Plantation and waterfalls.
There was plenty of time for interaction with the Elephants, a ride, feeding , washing and swimming.
A memorable trip.
Buy from your rep or get Independantly
Trip Includes Full board and evening stay with:
Visit to Spice Plantation and Lunch
Afternoon swim in the river.
Overnight stay at in Huts within the Wildlife Sanctuary.
Bullock Cart Ride
Evening show with the Elephants, feed the elephants..
Evening walk, Campfire and sing Song.
Morning swim with the Elephants
Visit to the Dugshar Waterfalls.
Back to camp and it was time to meet and feed the elephants, they really are amazing animals, and watching a 3 year old elephant play football with the people who look after them is a memory I will hold forever...but something I imagine the elephant has already forgotten (bad joke I know).
Dinner was traditional Indian fare, so if you can't eat spicy food, then prepare to fight the elephants for the watermelon.
After dinner we took a walk in the dark to a 14th century temple where we were told we would be doing yoga the following morning at 7.30. Imhumane time whilst on holiday but definately worth it but I will get to that in a minute...
Back at camp, we sat round a campfire, drinking, singing songs and dancing before retiring to bed at midnight. I believe all electricity is switched off in camp just after midnight so take a torch with you in case you need a trip to the bathroom during the night.
So, after about 3 minutes sleep...I was awoken for yoga....very reluctantly, I dragged myself off to do yoga and was so pleased I did....there is something very very peaceful about doing yogo outside a 14th century temple whilst watching monkeys dancing in the trees that will just make you forget any worries you may have back home.
Back for breakfast and to coo over the baby elephant a few more times, and we're back on the bus to head for Dudhsagar falls. Lunch is provided at the jungle cafe at the falls (guess what...it's spicy) then a 30 minute jeep journey through the jungle and a little hike will take you to the falls.....I will leave it there....my grasp of the english language is far too basic to even begin to describe the beauty of the place.
This 2 day excursion begins with a air conditioned bus (for airconditioning read, open windows and little fans) journey to the spice plantation. You are escorted round the plantation by a guide who shows you the various spices they grow, this bit although interesting, did get tedious, as he asked the group each time what we thought each plant was by smelling it....after about the 10th plant we got wrong, he should have guessed we has no idea and could only identify them by how the stores back home choose to label them. Anyway, after a very nice, if not very spicy meal, we hopped back on the bus and headed for Shanti, where we were staying for the night in 'mud huts'.
The accommodation was basic, but definately a laugh, little huts made from dung (they don't smell as much as you would guess) with a seperate bathroom with shower (freezing cold water) and toilet. The beds are covered in mosquito nets, and I am so glad of this, the bug that was in our room qualified for his own passport!
We then all took turns to have elephant rides (they have 4 there, although on the day we arrived, a 5th had been born...almost made you want one until you remember the excess baggage you would have to pay on the way back) and went on the bullock cart (possibly one of the most boring moments of my life....sat in a gypsy cart being pulled by cows!!!
Anyway, then it's off to the local town where we watched the chiefs wife (surprisinly nimble little woman for 63) grind rice to make bread whilst a family of little ducks paraded though her house. (surreal to say the least) and went onto the local school where the children sang nursery rhymes and the Indian National anthem for us...our rendition of Humpty Dumpty seemed to us diabolical, but the children seemed to find it very funny!
(had to continue this onto the next tip)
OVERNIGHT FULL BOARD
ELEPHANT RIDE AND WASH, SPICE PLANTATION, WATERFALLS, AUTHENTIC ACCOMMODATION, JUNGLE WALK, BULLOCK CART RIDE AND MORE...........
PRICES WITH JEWEL IN THE CROWN HOLIDAYS FEB'04
Go on the jungle trip. You spend two days away from your resort, but its well worth it.
You get a tour of the plantations, eating traditional food off banana leaves.
Once you get to the jungle, you are shown your accomodation which is a mud hut! Not too bad. The noise of the jungle at night is fantastic.
You get to interact with the elephants, and even get to wash them in the river.
The food was the best we had during all of the holday.
You also get to visit a local village located in the jungle, the people are so friendly and invite you into their houses (see pic). Take some sweets (candy) for the local kids.
All I can say is, if you are going to Goa, then don't miss the jungle.
Stay over at this retreat, it was a lovely experience. Getting to know Rhani the elephant. Eating fabulous food.
One of the activities you could take part in at the spice plantation was bathing an elephant. I didn't do this myself but it looked great fun if you didn't mind getting wet!