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Himalaya

Day 95: Dibrugah

Dibrugah, Nagaland and Assam 
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With Manoj Jalan (on leading elephant) in his Mancotta Estate. Elephants used to be used for logging. Now timber conservation has rendered many of them and their mahouts, redundant. The lucky ones still get work clearing undergrowth in tea plantations.
Michael Palin - HimalayaAll of a sudden there is the most enormous blast of sound, not unlike a foghorn at full volume. We've emerged onto a metalled road into the path of a group of men on bicycles. The cyclists are laughing and ringing their bells, the elephants are frightened and the mahouts and Manoj are shouting frantically.

'Ghat! Pich-oo!' ('Stop! Go Back!'). My driver rains blows down on the back of his animal. It seems only to get her more distressed and she bellows again and starts off up the track at a canter, which for one stomach-tightening moment I think might turn into a full blooded charge.

The mahout brings her under control, but I've had a glimpse of the power of the beast and I'm not unhappy when, after two hours straddling its back, my elephant kneels once more and I can clamber off.

For a while I think I might never be able to close my legs again.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 95: Dibrugah
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Dibrugah
  • Book page no: 226

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