I have been visiting Jim Corbett national park since 2001 and have been lucky to sight elusive Tigers, even more elusive leopards and many other wild lives. I had seen elephants too. But in my last visit to Corbett this May, I was enthralled to see hordes of elephants every where. They were everywhere. In grasslands, in water bodies, across roads, scaling up the hills.
The onset of summers for elephants means multiple travelling to water bodies for drinking water and allied activities. Just as we were on our way to forest rest house at Khinanauli, we found a huge and lonely tusker blocking our way. Contrary to normal gregarious inclined elephants, this was a lonely elephant. An elephant ostracized from the group in the state of musth(eager to mate) is always a dangerous proposition. I maintained a safe distance and zoomed in to click pictures. The liquid from temporal glands located just below the right eye of this lonely adult was a testimony to its testosterone charged temperament. Meanwhile, the experience safari driver kept the ignition on, to enable a quick dash away, if need be.
The elephants are known to bath daily at evening around sun set. During my jungle safari, I reached the banks of Ramganga reservoir near Dhikala. Just as I was about to reach Mota Saal, I saw a convoy of elephants trying to cross the road. They were together and in elephantine harmony. The elephants were conscious of our presence too and from the sides of their eyes, the adults and leader of the pack, kept an eye on us. The kids in them kept on shuffling within the group, crossing beneath the longish legs of adult elephants, but always under a constant watch. I was really enamored by the beauty of parade of the elephants.
After waiting for some time to let elephants cross the road, we moved further to water body. We noticed from a distance that elephants were having mud bath! It was interesting to watch them doing that, as humans also find mud bath good for their skin and health. Using their powerful trunks they were sucking soft and loose earth and then getting their trunks up above their heads, were blowing them at their back and sideways, creating a fine blanket of dust around them. I clicked few pictures of them doing that.
After the mud bath, comes the real bath. The elephants along with the youngest siblings stepped into water to enjoy the cold bath in right earnest. They were really happy to have that in heat of May. The calves of them were too frolicking in water and were using their trunks to shower them selves. The drops of water thus falling were glistening in sunlight. It was a scene to watch and to relish.
The parades(herds) of elephants were coming in sequence as a group to take their turn and enjoy the cool waters of Ramganga. I was happy to watch all of them in so huge numbers. In fact for the rest of evening instead of chasing an elusive tiger, I asked my driver cum guide to station there only and enjoy the scenery with the elephants. Gradually as the sun went down the horizon, all the elephants left the banks of the river and retreated to the inner jungle for the rest of night.