Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Gentle Giants: Real and Artificial!

A return to my unforgettable trip to Sri Lanka now: this is quite a long time in the past now, but on Christmas Eve we visited the Elephant Orphanage, which is basically what it says in the name, a home for orphaned elephants near Sri Lanka's second city of Kandy. I didn't have time to blog on the actual day, but I thought it was too awesome not to write something about, so here it comes...

I don't know about you, but I think this picture is SOOO CUTE! They look caring yet violent at the same time!

This is me and my dad (the people in orange shirts are the workers at the orphanage) tentatively yet excitedly feeling the rough, robust skin of a beautiful Indian elephant. If you look closely, you can see that this elephant has wonderfully unique pale pink marks on its trunk and ears, a pacifying mark on such a terrifying (to some) beast.

An elephant devours rare melons among piles of leaves!
I love both these elephant calf pictures. The top ones look so sweet as they nuzzle (or fight!) each other, yet the expressions of the bottom ones are completely different, entirely trustworthy of everything around them.


Elephants are not the national animal of Sri Lanka (lions are), but elsewhere on my travels in this beautiful island nation I saw enough depictions of these gentle giants to suggest that they could and should be...

This majestic trunked creature is a statue of a real elephant called Raja, who was a Sri Lankan national treasure due to his participation in Buddhist ceremonies and processions (we visited many Buddhist temples during the trip, which I loved looking round, and this statue was preserved in a museum next to one of them). Most famously, he carried the famous tooth relic (supposedly a fragment of Buddha's tooth) in many processions. Below him are some golden elephant heads from the same temple.

Here are two very elegant elephant depictions, on walls and gates in Kandy, which I think should be dubbed "the elephant sculpture capital of the world".

- DP :)

PS 83% of you voted for "Yes" in my "Would you eat a blue fruit?" poll, so you're obviously an adventurous bunch! Vaguely connected to elephants, my next poll is "Would you close zoos?", a freer poll that should allow you to be more opinionated.

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