Hathi Gaon - The Elephant Village in Jaipur

Hathi Gaon, Elephant Village in Jaipur: Know ethical elephant practices before you visit

If you crave a close encounter with elephants, Hathi Gaon offers opportunities for feeding, rides, and much more. Do prioritize responsible tourism by researching their practices.

Places To Visit

When it comes to elephant rides, Amer Fort is the name that first crosses our mind. One of the most sought-after things to do in Jaipur, the royal ride or the ‘Elephant ride’ is on the top in the itineraries of travelers. These rides are especially appealing because elephants are uncommon in many Western countries. However, due to growing concerns about animal welfare, some tourists now choose to skip the rides. Instead, they’re interested in ethical interactions with elephants, like washing, feeding, and painting them, offered at this best elephant village in Jaipur. Let’s know more about Hathi Gaon Jaipur.

All about the Elephant village in Jaipur 

Jaipur’s elephant village, also known as Hathi Gaon by locals, is a unique sanctuary spread over 30.5 hectares. As per the locals, Jaipur used to have an Elephant Cavalry where the manhouts used to live. Hathi Gaon Jaipur is a one-of-a-kind village for elephants. Created by a collaboration between the Rajasthan Forest Department, Jaipur Development Authority, and Rajasthan Tourism, it provides a home for elephants, their handlers (mahouts), and their families.

The elephant village features special shelters called “Thaans” or “Haathi Thaans,” built following guidelines set by India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change. The Elephant Welfare Society oversees the village’s maintenance and management. There’s even an artificial pond for the elephants to enjoy making it the best elephant village in Jaipur.

The elephant village provides dedicated living areas for both the mahouts (elephant caretakers) and their elephants. Located close to Amer Fort, the village appears to be a well-designed project that caters to the needs of both the elephants and their handlers.

For the elephants’ comfort, the village uses unpaved paths made of compacted earth (called “Pugdundee”) instead of regular roads. They’ve also replaced asphalt with cement blocks in designated areas to allow for some vehicle access.

History of Hathi Gaon

Jaipur’s elephant village, Hathi Gaon, has been a magnet for travelers for over 60 years. Initially, it attracted mostly international visitors seeking unique experiences with elephants and local crafts. However, after 2006, the scene began to shift.

  • Pre-2006: A select group of travelers visited Hathi Gaon to interact with elephants and buy local products.
  • 2006-2010: Hathi Gaon saw a rise in popularity, attracting more visitors, both domestic and international.
  • Post-2010: Local residents capitalized on the growing interest, offering elephant safaris (short rides) and interactions like feeding and elephant-made paintings on their private farms.

Elephant Activities at Hathi Gaon 

The Elephant Village in Jaipur offers a variety of activities run by different companies and individuals, including:

  • Elephant rides
  • Washing of elephants
  • Feeding the elephants
  • Elephant painting
  • Shower the elephant
  • Basic elephant communication/ bonding

Jaipur’s elephant village sees a surge of visitors in the winter, with over 1,000 tourists exploring the area. Local elephant owners are getting creative to attract guests. Some of the unique experiences include purchasing 100% biodegradable paper made from elephant dung! And one of the best activities is going into small ponds with the elephants.

Tourists can participate in these activities at Hathi Gaon in Jaipur every afternoon. Though the village was intended to benefit the mahouts and elephants, various travel companies now operate there. The official rates for elephant interactions are set by the mahouts’ society, but unfortunately, bargaining and potentially unethical practices might occur.

Note:
While the elephant village, also known as Hathi Gaon, was originally intended to provide a home for mahouts and their elephants, it’s become a hub for tourist companies. Many companies with names starting with “Ele” operate there, offering elephant activities, but none are directly affiliated with the elephant owners.

A Living for Locals, But Ethics Remain

Unlike elephant sanctuaries that house rescued or retired elephants, Hathi Gaon is a village where elephants have been born and raised for generations. This creates a strong bond between the elephants and their owners. This elephant village in Jaipur has more than 100-200 elephants. The elephant village is a source of income for local families. 

Keeping this in mind, using elephants as tourist attractions should not be considered animal cruelty. Note that the elephant only listens to its mahout (handler). While they may be well-trained and listen to their mahouts, situations can arise where elephants can become agitated, and in such cases, measures are taken to calm him down. 

Ethical Elephant Tourism

There’s no single definition of ethical elephant interaction. Opinions vary widely on what constitutes animal cruelty.

  • Against Riding: Most ethically-conscious tourists oppose elephant rides entirely.
  • Limited Exceptions: A small group might accept elephant rides in specific settings, like sanctuaries with natural environments. However, tourist-focused sanctuaries are a definite no-go.
  • Captivity Concerns: Many travelers believe all elephant activities are unethical due to captivity. They advocate for letting elephants roam free in their natural habitat with minimal human interference.

Elephant rides in Jaipur and PETA

Elephant rides in Jaipur are available at these two places: Amer Fort and Elephant Village Jaipur. Despite PETA’s long standing fight to end elephant rides in Jaipur, both Amer Fort and the HathiGaon elephant village continue to offer them. Indian law hasn’t supported PETA’s efforts for a complete ban.

The decision to participate in elephant activities or rides in Jaipur is ultimately up to the travelers. However, be aware that terms like “elephant park” or “sanctuary” in Jaipur can be misleading.

Beware the Misleading “Elephant Park” Label

As per the elephant village reviews, many tourists look for elephant parks in Jaipur, but there isn’t one in the traditional sense. This term is often used online by businesses for marketing purposes.

The reality is Jaipur has an elephant village. However, some have unofficially carved out sections within the village and call them “elephant parks.” Be aware of this distinction when searching online.

Elephant Festival in Jaipur 

A couple of years ago, a UK-based company, possibly posing as a social enterprise or NGO, organized a controversial event in Jaipur. The “Elephant Parade” involved displaying large, decorated elephant statues at the Albert Hall Museum. While the company claims 20% of net profits go to elephant conservation, some criticize it as profiting from a good cause. 

Jaipur used to host a popular elephant festival, but in recent years, animal welfare concerns led to its cancellation. The festival has been transformed and no longer exists in its original form.

Elephant Village Jaipur Ticket Price

Elephant village in Jaipur entry fee is separate and only applicable for the entry.

Here are the current ticket prices:

  • Indian Visitors: ₹100 per person
  • Overseas Visitors: ₹350 per person

Do note that these are just the entry charges into Hathi Gaon Jaipur.

The elephant activities inside the Jaipur Hathi Gaon have additional costs. Elephant village in Jaipur’s price ranges from Rs 1200 to Rs 5500 per person, with activities including rides, feeding, painting, washing the elephants, and even lunch.

As of October 2023, elephant rides cost ₹3500 per person.

Elephant Village Jaipur Location

The elephant village known by its official name, HATHI GAON is located before Kunda village, Jaipur

How to reach Elephant Village in Jaipur

It is just a 10-minute away from Amber Fort. Hathi Gaon is conveniently located and well-connected so one can get Hathi Gaon Jaipur directions very easily. You can reach here by various modes of transportation. Either you can choose to drive, take a taxi, or opt for public transport. There are other budget-friendly options including public buses and auto-rickshaws. 

Hathi Gaon contact number

+91 8209351141

Elephant Village Jaipur Timings

The elephant village in Jaipur timings for activities are from 12.00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m

In conclusion, Hathi Gaon, the elephant village in Jaipur is one unique adventure in Jaipur that every tourist must experience. It intrigues tourists seeking up-close interaction with these majestic creatures.

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