What is Hathi gaon?
Hathi gaon ( Elephant village ) is a small village that was set up by the government in 2010 to give proper shelter and water facilities to all the families and their elephants that served tourists in and around Amer Fort during the day.
Where is this place?
A km from the junction where Jaipur-Delhi Highway and Amer Road meet. (see the map below)
What is there is see?
Along with all the homes and shelters for the elephants there are big man-made ponds in the village designed specifically for elephants to relax and bathe in it after a long hard days work. People can visit the place and enjoy the sight of many elephants playing and bathing in open which is a rare sight in this part of India.
Why is it special?
I think it is a perfect ‘get away from the city’ kind of place for all the city dwellers. Families with children can spend sometime in the cool breeze and greenery all around with elephants entertaining themselves and their visitors.
It’s a photographers paradise as i think elephants are one of the best animals to photograph.
What is the best time to visit?
Evenings after 4pm.
Ideally, summer is the best season to visit the place as the probability to get to see lot of elephants bathing together is more during this season. However, I would advise one to visit the place in any season.
Old Jaipurites might remember watching elephants bathe in the ponds in front of the Amer Fort. Well, that’s the thing of the past now. The government invested more than Rs. 5 crore in building this village from scratch so the elephants can bathe in their own backyard.
Talking to a mahout, I discovered that all the elephants working at the Fort, barring 2-3 of them, are females. They are preferred over their male counterparts because of their calm and docile nature. Each family in the village manages 3-4 elephants. Contrary to popular believe, these families are not the owners of these elephants. They are employed by companies or individual investors to care take the animals. Each elephant cost around Rs. 30-40 lakhs hence good care of these gentle giants is necessary. Most of these elephants are bought at the Sonepur Cattle Fair, the largest cattle fair in Asia.
I was in awe at the stamina of the elephants when one of the mahouts told me that he bought his elephant to Jaipur on foot from Sonepur. That’s more than 1100kms. It took them one month.
How to get to Hathi Gaon?
The Elephants of Hathigaon, Jaipur.
Presentation by Central University of Rajasthan