We were so thrilled by Amber Fort that we returned the next morning on our beloved bus Nr. 5, primarily to take more photos of the fort in a different light. Only to find -most shocking – the place swarming with busloads of package tourists, all lined up for riding up the short ramp on an elephant.
Not that this small distance cannot be done on foot, but obviously, this is THE thing tourists are told to do when in Jaipur! The queue was about 100 meter long, right in the sun that was already scorching. We were in shock: wonderfully quiet in the afternoon before and now such huge crowds. Spontaneously we decided against a visit of the palace, but while there, why not doing some “Elephants & Tourists Watching”?
The best place to do so is opposite to the “Elephants Docking Station”, where tourists climb onto the elephants from a platform. The big sign, “It is strictly prohibited to take pictures of elephants” we dutifully ignored and taking a few hundred pictures did not bother anyone.
With their beautifully painted face, these graceful creatures were really a sight of their own! And there were a lot of them… Obviously, each elephant makes no more than 5 round trips in the warm season: doing more would exhaust them and make them nervous and aggressive. They might do more in the cold season, a mahout confessed, maybe also because there are simply more tourists.