To his account of the trials and tribulations of life on the road, the author brings view of the oldest partnership between man and animal and reflects on the 4,000-year history of the culture in which the elephant has such a special place.
For Mark Shand, there is no better way to see India than from the howdah of an Indian elephant. Before he set off on his 1000 kilometre journey, Tara was a scrawny 33-year-old begging elephant and by the time they reached the Sonepur Mela (the world's oldest elephant market) she had been transformed through tender loving care into a star attraction. Everywhere they went - into communities that had not changed in millennia or along new arterial roads where trans-continental juggernauts thundered past - the Western mahout, trained by Tara's minder, and his five eccentric Indian companions drew inquisitive crowds. Yet there was an inward as well as an outward journey. Merely arriving was not the end of the story and finding a good home for Tara was to present the greatest challenge of all. To his account of the trials and tribulations of life on the road he brings view of the oldest partnership between man and animal and reflects on the 4,000-year history of the culture in which the elephant has such a special place.
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Mark Shand has worked at Sotheby's and as a jackaroo in Australia, has competed the London-Sydney motor race and been shipwrecked in the South Pacific. At present he divides his time between London, India and his hime in BAli. He is co-author (with Don McCullin) of Skullduggery, the sotry of a search for the head-hunting tribes of Indoneisa.
Travels on My Elephant by Mark Shand
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