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Day 100: Kaziranga

Kaziranga, Nagaland and Assam 
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Michael Palin - HimalayaThe mahout beckons me forward and indicates where Joiraj most likes to be washed.

So it is that at the age of 60 I find myself rubbing an elephant of 55, behind his ears and particularly at the point where the tusk disappears into the folds of his cheek. His eyes roll towards me, registering languid approval. I'm told that he likes nothing better than to be slapped quite hard on the bridge of his nose. Tentatively at first, then, at the mahout's urging, rather more powerfully, I strike the top of his trunk. But it's only when I give him a really good whack that he appears to enter elephant heaven, rolling his eyes, stretching out his legs and emitting an infinitely appreciative rumble. The sound of a contented elephant is a wonderful thing, and I'm amazed that this battleship-grey hide, and these hard, immemorially ancient flanks can be as sensitive as a cat's chin.

In the evening we're driven into the heart of the park for a barbecue organized by the Minister for Forests at one of the anti-poaching camps.

One of the guests is a fellow Englishman, Mark Shand, who knows about conservation and knows his Himalaya well too. We swap a few stories. He is very keen that we should film a man he's just met who claims he can call rhino.

'Looks a bit like Benny Hill, round glasses, big grin. And he's best after lunch, when he's had a bit to drink.'
Kaziranga, Nagaland and Assam 
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 100: Kaziranga
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Kaziranga
  • Book page no: 235

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  • Eating
  • Day 5 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 3 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 6 
  • Pole to Pole