Published: January 15th 2011January 15th 2011
Today four of us took a taxi and ventured off to a Lion Safari and an Elephant Rehabilitation Center. This was my first day away from the clinic since arriving in India Jan 5th. That alone was reason for much excitement for me. A very nice and attentive taxi driver picked us up at 9am and off we went through the little towns. On the streets were students walking, men and women carrying heavy loads on their heads, some cattle being walked, many rickshaws, motorcycles and merchants, as well as people peeking out of their homes. Us 4 very white women often get waved at, especially by children who say "Hi! What's your name? Where are you from?" men tend to make less eye contact. We drove by a Dam, not sure what body of water it is damming and got into a hillier terrain with beautiful small rivers and then larger bodies of water. The key I am discovering in India is she, India has a mind and will of her own and it's best to go with that and trust.
The Lion Sanctuary was basically 10 acres of land with 7 Lion's. We waited about an hour for the
safari bus while having machine made chai...shhh...don't tell the Dr we had this;) Then boarded into a bus that was surrounded in hard wire like a cage. I sat next to a girl living in Bangalore, from India who had just finished her graduates degree in California in Santa Barbara. We had a nice chat about Cali and India. We saw I think one male lion and many female. The male was majestic and initially pissed off we were there, growling at the bus. Someone said a Lion can knock over an elephant...and we were in a bus about the same size. He settled to merely tolerating us, everyone climbing to take pictures. I thought the safari ride was going to be all different kinds of animals and a bit more wide open. I loved the females gracefulness and paws.
At the elephant rehab, we saw a very sweet, very large elephant upon entering. 2 India teenage girls rode the elephant, one of them screaming when the elephant took off. The elephant was very tolerant and minded its keeper well, we hope they are kind to her. The driver asked us to come up a path, there we came upon
a 76 year old male, he was chained, he had 2 blunted tusks, not sure why. I pray he is treated well. Both elephants did not seem fearful. I do hope on my travels to see an elephant in the wild out walking about that I come across naturally.
Later I went to town with one of the other guests that was going home that night. On the way back we decided to go to a temple. She had been approached by the holy man that runs it on the street days before. He guided us in and did a involved blessing for both of us with chants, spritzing water on our faces and head, anointing our 3rd eye with white and red powder. Kali is the goddess of endings and beginnings, Kali was significant for me in my purification process. We both felt deeply blessed and grateful for his generosity.
There are more photos below