What is it about elephants that brings out the child in everyone of us? Is it their gentle countenance that goes against the grain of their massive build? Or is it, simply, that riding an elephant is a wish, we’ve all had, at some point in our lives? The Dubare Elephant Camp is a must-experience for the elephant lover in you. Karnataka’s history with elephants, goes a long way back and currently the state’s Forest Department has about 150 elephants in various camps. But in the recent past, after logging operations were ceased, there was a situation of freshly unemployed elephants. The Dubare Camp, the camp where elephants were trained for the famous Mysore Dasara, found a brand new calling. Today, it’s a place where hundreds of tourists get one-on-one with their biggest (quite literally) dream.
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The Dubare Elephant Camp is a chance to get to know these giant, enchanting creatures better. With a host of activities built around this, many a guest has left the camp with a sense of responsibility to do their bit towards protecting elephants. A trained naturalist takes our guests through the complexities of elephant history, ecology and biology. Here, you not only get to observe the activities, but actually get to interact with the elephants. Generally guests spend over three hours with the elephants. Roll up your sleeves and pitch in for an elephant grooming session – watching elephants being given a scrub-bath in the river, with rituals like oil being applied to their forehead, tusks and the other aspects of elephant grooming will change your idea of pet maintenance. Once the bath is done, learn how elephant food is prepared and how they’re fed. Mahouts will also demonstrate how elephants obey commands and how they functioned during their earlier role in logging operations. And if you’re in the mood, you can take a fifteen-minute elephant ride in to the Dubare Reserve Forest. You even get to witness how a howdah is tied. Meanwhile, you can also try out a coracle ride. These circular rafts give you a typical River Cauvery experience. Spotting a crocodile or two, sunning on the banks, is a highly likely prospect. The surrounding forests are home to exciting wildlife like the gaur, leopard, the wild dog, sloth bear, peacock, partridges, etc. Also during the months of July, August and September, JLR arranges for monsoon river rafting in the stretch adjacent to the camp. Both non-vegetarian and vegetarian fare is served. Upon request, we can arrange for some local cuisine to be part of the spread.
The camp is located in the Coorg district and enjoys idyllic weather conditions. The Camp is open throughout the year. Monsoons (July to mid-September) are heavy, but the swollen river makes it all the more interesting and the surrounding foliage is alive and vibrant. The post-monsoon months (mid-Sept to beginning March) are the ideal time to visit as the weather is perfect. Summers are pleasant, since the camp is located in sylvan settings.