Travels on My Elephant

Overview

Started on a whim and pursued with a passion, modern-day adventurer Mark Shand's remarkable journey through India on the back of a 30-year-old elephant named Tara covered 800 miles, from the Bay of Bengal to the world's largest elephant bazaar at Sonepur on the Ganges. Rescued from a life of begging, Tara, scrawny and mistreated, was transformed through Shand's tender attention and care on their journey into a star attraction. Blessed by priests, entertained by princes, they shuffled happily through towns and ...
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Travels on my Elephant

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Overview

Started on a whim and pursued with a passion, modern-day adventurer Mark Shand's remarkable journey through India on the back of a 30-year-old elephant named Tara covered 800 miles, from the Bay of Bengal to the world's largest elephant bazaar at Sonepur on the Ganges. Rescued from a life of begging, Tara, scrawny and mistreated, was transformed through Shand's tender attention and care on their journey into a star attraction. Blessed by priests, entertained by princes, they shuffled happily through towns and villages, Tara sucking up rice and bananas from roadside stands and Shand scattering rupees in compensation. Everywhere they went, the adventurer, his unusual steed, and his five eccentric Indian companions drew an inquisitive crowd of admirers. Rivaling Kipling, this story of man and elephant is by turns exciting, terrifying and moving. Merely arriving at Sonepur on the Ganges was not the end of the story, and finding a good home for Tara was to present the greatest challenge of all for a man who had just traveled 800 miles through heat, hardship and danger. With an ear for the comic, an eye for the exotic and a taste for the bizarre, Shand informs as he entertains, painting a vivid picture of Indian life, customs and locale as he takes us through his daily adventures with Tara in this transporting memoir.
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Editorial Reviews

Outside
[Shand's] reminiscences of the warmly hospitable people make you want to head out the door and find the nearest mahout, but the real star of the show is Tara, who has a sweet personality and a penchant for mischief, like shoplifting fruit from vendors' stalls and lifting prostitutes' saris.
San Francisco Chronicle
Mark Shand's Travels on My Elephant tells an immediately appealing love story...With an eye for vivid description and a droll sense of humor reminiscent of Peter Mayle's books about France.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This tale of a recent 800-mile journey across India on an elephant is at once entertaining and exasperating. Shand ( Skulduggery ), who has also head-hunted in Indonesia and motor-raced from London to Sydney, impulsively buys a 30-year-old elephant to ride from Konarak on the Bay of Bengal to Sonepur across the Ganges to the great elephant bazaar. In addition to Tara, the elephant, Shand gathers Indian helpers and advisers as quirky as himself, and together they travel across the country--Shand on Tara, his party in a jeep--astounding, amusing and puzzling those they encounter. Along the way, Shand learns about the care and feeding of elephants; and about rural India, which still worships the elephant God Ganesh and which leaps to life in this book. The group attends village festivals, receives the hospitality of princes and policemen, and Shand becomes so enamored of Tara that they share a slug of whisky and mingle their tears at his leave-taking. Overly coy in the telling, The characters (including the elephant) are difficult to identify with, but the local color is delightful, despite the overly coy prose. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Traveling by elephant is difficult, but reading about someone else's journey can be thoroughly entertaining. Shard, an English travel writer, first had to acquire an elephant, along with a competent staff. Then he had to maneuver this entourage through 800 miles of the Orissa and Bihar states in India. In addition to the descriptions of the ride, he provides a colorful slice of modern-day India and considerable elephant lore. While the account is somewhat melodramatically told, the book is lively and should prove popular with public library users. A number of books can take us through India, but this is the only one that describes the country from the top of an elephant. Recommended for travel collections.-- Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon State Coll. Lib., Ashland
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781906011697
  • Publisher: Eland Books
  • Publication date: 5/30/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 486,320
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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