Elephants, like small children, love to bathe and play with water. This elephant’s eyes are closed in ecstasy as it enjoys the mahouts’ scrubs. Note the way the trunk hangs from the tusk, very much like a garment on a clothesline.
No queen could ask for more attention to be lavished on her by her maids-in-waiting. It looks like an idyllic scene.
But the cane resting on the elephant’s body betrays the less than idyllic truth.
I shot this at Kodanad, an animal rescue center that also serves as a training center for elephants. The elephants are bathed daily in the Periyar at about 7 am or so. If you visit Kodanad, get there by 7 am, and you can even help the mahouts bathe an elephant.