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Work with elephants in Jaipur

$1,129.00

Price above is guide only. Choose start date for your price.

   
  

Overview

Want to help care for these big beauties?

What better place to be situated than near the city of Jaipur caring for these magnificent animals. Working in the village of Amber close to the royal Amber Fort you will be looking after the elephants in the morning before they start their hard work at the Fort. These elephants work hard carrying tourists around the Fort and so you will be making sure that they are ready to start the day! 

Trip Highlights:

  • Spending time with and learning about these incredible animals
  • Exploring the stunning city of Jaipur
  • Taking a weekend trip to Jaiselmer - Rajasthan's historic desert fort (price not included)

What our projects say

  • By receiving volunteers from i to i they have helped us to add structure the project
  • Elephants receive greater individual attention and the mahouts have a different understanding of working with animals
  • As they are so responsible and and show their dedication to the project this makes the staff realise their roles better
  • Children have also learnt English which has given tremendous confidence to the children

Fast facts

Project duration: 
Min 2 weeks - Max 4 weeks
Location of project: 
Jaipur
Arrival airport: 
Jaipur (airport code JAI)
Activities: 
Caring for the elephants, cleaning the area, preparing food, feeding the elephants and bathing them
Working hours: 
During the Summer months shifts are from 4.30am to 8.30am or 3:30pm to 7:30pm, during Winter months shifts are from 5.30am to 9.30am or 3:30pm to 7:30pm, Monday to Friday
Getting to the project: 
Up to 45 minutes drive, the transport will be arranged for you and is covered within your project fee
Requirements: 
Minimum age 18

What's included

Accommodation: 
Shared room in homestay
Food: 
All meals
Airport pickup: 
Included on arrival date - ask us for details if you're arriving early
Training: 
In-country orientation
Support: 
Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not included

Flights, Insurance, Visas, Return Airport transfer

Itinerary

Day 1 (Sunday): Unpack your trunk! Arrival into Jaipur (airport code JAI)

Today you will be met at the airport and taken to your accommodation. It only takes around 30 minutes to travel from the airport to your arrival point but your first journey in India will be one to remember!

The orientation will take place at your In Country Coordinator’s residence and will take you through what it’s going to be like at your project, do’s and don’ts, how to stay safe and it’s your prime opportunity to ask any burning questions that you haven’t yet had answered. After the orientation you’ll have some time to relax and prepare before your first day at the project tomorrow.

If you aren’t able to arrange a flight to get you into Jaipur on the designated arrival day then we’d recommend you fly in a day early.

We can arrange an early airport pick-up for you including one night’s accommodation for an additional fee. Please call us for more information.

Day 2 (Monday): Welcome to the Elephant Village

Today you will be shown the way to your new project in Amber, a small town about thirty minutes drive away from your accommodation. You’ll meet the staff and the stars of the show – the elephants. Prepare to get stuck in and get messy as you get to grips with the day to day care of the elephants.

The elephants have a day job here! They travel each day to the nearby Royal Amber Fort and provide tourists with elephant rides and are the stars of photographs and videos for the morning. The elephants work hard and look forward to their return to the nearby village of Amber where they are cared for by their owners and you! The elephants are viewed as a means of income and the additional care and attention you can give is very important to both them and their owners.

Days 6 and 7 (Saturday to Sunday): Free time

The weekends are yours to do as you please! So you can either try to cram in as much sight seeing and souvenir shopping as you can or you can relax and find a slower pace of India off the beaten track. India has something for everyone.

Jaipur is very well placed for some fascinating weekends out of town. Although it is possible to visit some places for just a day by taking night trains or buses in both directions, much of the enjoyment is in finding a place to stay and of course the chance to see and photograph the beautiful architecture in the lovely light of early mornings and late afternoon.

It is worth staying the night in Agra to view the Taj Mahal at either sunrise or sunset rather than during the flat light of the middle of the day. There are many budget guesthouses in Agra. The journey is approximately 5 hours from Jaipur by either train or bus.

Along with a visit to the famous Taj Mahal, don’t forget to visit Agra Fort and, if time and energy permits, Fatehpur Sikri, an abandoned city, a bus journey away.

The town of Jaisalmer is reached by overnight train from Jaipur. The fort appears in the desert as if in a fairytale. Jaisalmer enjoys a rooftop café scene. Camel safaris can be booked from a minimum of one day through various agents in the town and in the fort. Jeep journeys can also be made to the sand dunes. Prices will vary depending on the tour operators that you choose, be sure to shop around and barter for the best price!

Hotels and guesthouses are available in the town, affording fabulous views onto the fort or within the fort walls taking you back to medieval times.

Following weeks

Enjoy getting back to basics in India. You’ll be invigorated by the reality of life in India and spending your days looking after these great big beasts will ensure a good night’s sleep every night! After their return from their work you will be helping them to relax by massaging them and giving them the care and attention they need. Your hours of work will be from around 4.30am to 8.30am and 3:30pm to 7:30pm, Monday to Friday. The elephants return to the village around 1:00pm and before this you will need to ensure that their homes are clean and ready for them!

Please be aware that elephants aren’t the tame animals that some people perceive them to be, therefore it is necessary for them to be shackled in some way to ensure everyone’s safety. This is done in the most humane way possible so please bear this in mind.

If you’ve always thought about getting up close to elephants and being in a team of people who are dedicated to looking after them, then you’ll fit right in here.

Your Last Day (Sunday)

Today is your final day in Jaipur but you won’t be expected to attend your project unless you have time to. Your last day is all about packing up, buying any last minute souvenirs and making your way back to the airport or to wherever you’re going for your next adventure.

If you’re heading to the airport, our in country team can help you to arrange transport depending on how many people are travelling together. The airport is approximately 30 minutes away by auto tuk-tuk and costs around US$15.

Project

What does the project do?

The aim of this project is to help the mahouts (those who look after and drive the elephants) care and look after their majestic animals. The project is based in the village of Amber also known as the 'Elephant Village' where the elephants work daily at the nearby royal Amber Fort. The Fort attracts tourists with its ornate and intricate carvings on the walls and ceilings along with its grand appearance and warm ambience. The main attraction of the Fort however is the royal elephant ride. The elephants work hard and look forward to their return to the nearby village of Amber where they are cared for by their owners and you! The elephants are viewed as a means of income and the additional care and attention you can give is very important to both them and their owners.

What’s the project like?

The mahouts and locals that you’ll be working alongside have a deep bond and connection with the elephants at the project. They are extremely dedicated to what they do and although it provides a small income for them, they cherish what they earn. Take the time to get to know the background of this project to get settled in. it’s a lot of physical work and you get messy but we’ll bet the smile on your face at the end of the day has never been bigger.

Why does the project need volunteers?

The elephants are a good source of income for the mahouts and therefore, they need a great deal of care and attention to keep them motivated and healthy. You are needed to lend a hand in whatever needs doing to clean up after the elephants.

The mahout and elephants leave their homes at around 07.00am for their work at the Fort and return at 1.00pm where the elephant looks forward to his rest after a long morning.

Your main task will be to help the owner of the elephant by cleaning up after the animals, preparing their food and feeding them. After their return from their work you will be helping them to relax by massaging them and giving them the care and attention they need. You’ll be working alongside the local mahouts and helping them with their English skills which will help them at the royal Amber Fort. Try and learn a few words in Hindi before you travel to really impress the mahouts!

Activities and schedule

There are two shift patterns per week, which include four morning shifts and one evening shift per week:

  • Morning shift - bathing, cleaning and preparing the elephant to go the Fort. Cleaning the area and working with any baby elephants
  • Evening shift - preparing chapattis for the elephant feed, feeding them and giving them water.

As you will no doubt be getting quite dirty remember to bring clothes with you that you will not mind getting dirty or leaving behind; freeing up extra space in your backpack for those souvenirs! You should dress modestly in t-shirts and the minimum of three-quarter-length trousers.

Project resources and advice

As you’ll no doubt be standing in or near elephant mess, you may want to bring boots and gloves for cleaning, a face mask for the smell, a mosquito net for your room and don’t forget any playing cards and books!

Accommodation

What type of accommodation will I be in?

You will be living in a local homestay run by a local Indian family and may share your room with other volunteers, giving you the perfect chance to absorb the local culture and make friends with other volunteers.

Accommodation facilities

During your stay in Jaipur, you will have some form of interaction with local families by living in a homestay alongside one or possibly more generations of a family! All of our home stays are on a shared basis with at least two people to a room with a lockable cupboard. All meals are included and they’ll be typical Indian cuisine to give you a real insight into another culture and life as a local in Jaipur. Vegetarians are welcome and easily catered for.

The homestays are basic but clean and functional and will give you a real insight in to life in India as a local. Not everyone who visits India can say that! We’ll always do our best to place you with someone else so that you’re not alone but we can’t always guarantee this will be the case.

The accommodation has electricity, a Western style toilet and running water but hot water is in short supply. We recommend that you boil water for a hot wash and a bucket bath – you’ll be surprised at how good it feels to be getting back to basics. You’ll also have access to a small kitchenette, living area and garden to socialise with the other volunteers and family members.

During your stay in Jaipur with us, bedding is provided for you but we recommend that you bring a basic mosquito net just in case

Things to bring from home

We would recommend that you bring plenty of books or activities to keep yourself entertained in the evenings for those evenings where the elephants have tired you out too much to go out!

Where is the accommodation?

The accommodation is in Kisan Marg on the outskirts of Jaipur. There are several shops and an internet café nearby. There are several banks and hospitals within a 10 minute taxi ride away. The area is easy to navigate and you have the bonus of having local experts living with you who can point you in the right direction if you need them.

How far is it from my project?

Your project is on average around forty five minutes away (11 kilometres each way) from your accommodation. The transport to and from the project is arranged for you and the cost is included within your trip fee.

What you get

Next steps

Flights & insurance

Country information

I've done this trip. Write review >
Callie Saulniers gives this project
8/10
Here is what Callie had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Meeting the amazing people from India was great! Our In-country support team was very nice and halpful!!!
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
1) Don't go to India in July or August! Go more so in the winter months! 2) Be ready for the differences in cultures! There are a lot and you can get a lot out of it! 3) Don't have any expectations! Go with the flow and take India one day at a time!
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Life changing and eye opening to differences in the world!
Sandra Crawford gives this project
10/10
Here is what Sandra had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Getting to know more about the life and work of elephants and their families.
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Interesting to learn the differences in culture.
Marcin Naglik gives this project
10/10
Here is what Marcin had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
It was very well orginised. I was very pleased by the hospitality of my host Karnika, my project manager, hosting familly and all the people I've meet during my stay.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Listen to the hints given by people hosting you there. Do not expect anything - eventually you'll be very happy.
Jennie Crossan gives this project
10/10
Here is what Jennie had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Intercating with the elephants, the experience of living with an Inidna family, spending time with the mahouts and their families.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
1) Come with no expectations 2) Be open minded 3) Check the weather for the time of year you want to go - it varies a lot!
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Humbling, entertaining, mind-expanding, wonderful.
Ray Peacock gives this project
10/10
Here is what Ray had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
The cameraderie I built up with my colleagues and the mahoots and seeing the elephants leaving the stables ready for their days work.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Bring some boots that you never want to see again!
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
A fantastic experience in a wonderful country.
Jodie Sales gives this project
10/10
Here is what Jodie had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Staying with Sharda and her family. Chapatis :) forming a bond with the elephants, India people were great. check out my video http://vimeo.com/29693833
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
* Bring loose clothes * a small hindi language book * extra camera memory cards
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
" a chance to be involved in real india culture "
Kerri L'Anson gives this project
10/10
Here is what Kerri had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Working with the elephants. I was nervous about being the only volunteer in my project, but Karnika orientated me on what to and not do and her helper (Tappan) was always working with me and looking out for my welfare. I felt quite safte and at home with the whole experience even when unwell with the flu.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
1.Be open minded and not compare the country you are in with your own home/lifestyle/country where you are from. 2. Be willing to have a go and get in and work in your project like you would if you were there forever. 3. Respect the beliefs and cultures in the homestay you are in and listen and follow your homestay family's advise.
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Loved every moment and felt comfortable and safe in our homestay, area of living and project. I want to be a Mahute!
Kerri-Ann Watson gives this project
8/10
Here is what Kerri-Ann had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
I really enjoyed interacting with the friendly elephants & also the very enthusiastic children at the village! I also enjoyed helping one of the little girls who didn't go to school with English. My 'guide' on the project was also a very friendly & helpful guy and made my experience a lot of fun! My homestay family & project co-ordinator were also amazing people & so very friendly & helpful. My project co-ordinator even invited us to a wedding of a relative. This was a fantastic & authentic experience!
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Make sure you take gumboots, or waterproof shoes & clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. Make sure you take a reliable alarm clock, as you have to wake up very early & a few times my phone alarm did not work! Take lots of photos of the children & show them, they love it!
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
A once in a life time experience, elephants are amazing!
Barbara Myers gives this project
5/10
Here is what Barbara had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
The highlights of the trip we meeting with the other volunteers, going to the elephant village and looking after the elephants, Tapan was wondering and some of the Mahouts, Lakshmi is the nicest elephant, really miss her.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
You should go with no expectations what so ever, this is the best advice. I would advise doing as much research before going and get in contact with other volunteers who will prepare you for your visit. I learnt some valuable information from Volunteers who had already been on the trip previously.
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
inspiring to be in a country like India, made me think of life differently.
Natasha Bell gives this project
7/10
Here is what Natasha had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Painting the elephants The view from the top of the Amber Fort just after sunrise; so peaceful and a welcomed solice from the usual hustle and bustle Learning about Indian culture from the inside
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Definitely bring hand/sink washing poweder sachets, lots of them.Learn a few Hindi words, 'water' is useful and most definitely 'no', people tend to leave you alone more if you say it to them in HindiBarter for everything, including your hotel room, prices immediately go up as soon as they see youCheeky fourth - bring a wireless internet device (phone or something) as free wifi is at all the hotels and you'll save yourself lots of rupees
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Amazing to be so close to such huge and beautiful animals!

We work in partnership with hundreds of established projects that are run by local communities. The information on our website comes directly from the projects and we work with them to ensure this information is as accurate as possible. However, due to the very nature of the projects themselves the exact details of what happens on a daily basis can change with little or no notice. If you have travelled with us and have any updates to this information, please let us know.