Volunteer Work With Elephants

Video and Photos

Elephant tuk tuk wash anyone?
Making elephant chapati!

About

Volunteer Work With Elephants. Volunteers required to do care and help work for Elephants and their mahouts at one of the Elephants Camp in India. For a long time now all the elephants located in Jaipur have not been living together. Every day, in the morning, the elephants in the city give tourist rides to Fort Amber. But this is tough for mahouts as well as elephants because there is a long distance to walk to the fort. In 2005 the Government of Rajasthan, India, has allotted a place in the area, 30 hectares of land near Jaipur, a place called Elephant Village. It has stable blocks for each elephant, it has housing for the animals; it also has a big man-made lake where the elephants can swim and get thoroughly washed after a day spent in the heat and dust.

Questions & Answers

Here are the fees for the elephant program (in US $). You can find more information on their website! 1 Week 180 2 Weeks 360 3 Weeks 540 4 Weeks 720 5 Weeks 900 6 Weeks 1080 Extra Week 180

Reviews

95%
based on 31 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 16 - 30 of 31
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Hollie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I love elephants

I had an great time working with the elephants. Even within the one week they were there we got to know them and their personalities. The mahouts who care for the elephants are all extremely nice and feed you up with chai. Sukret kept in contact with us from the moment we booked the experience right until the very end (we now even have him and Govind on facebook). Our tuk tuk driver was the loveliest man in the world. My friend Megan spilt coffee on herself as we were sightseeing and he pulled over and rinsed her down! The host family were extremely accommodating and made us feel at home. Although while we were there, the daughter-in-law was basically in labour and one of the daughters was getting engaged, so it was a bit hectic.
I can assure you that this project and all the people are legitimate. We have a very near miss. Our driver for around Rajisthan tooko us to who we thought was Sukret, but the guy claimed to be Sukret's cousin. After attempting to take our money several times, we rang Sukret just to double check, and he said he had no idea who that man was and didn't have a cousin that worked at the elephant village. It was a close call!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that bothered me was that the elephants had scars on their ears from the bull hooks that they use, and some had various other injuries/conditions, that we saw no care for.
Default avatar
Linda
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Very Professional Program

My son and I were involved in this project for a week .Although this was a relatively short time, we learnt a lot about the daily care of the elephants and were able to build up a good relationship with several of the elephants, especially Rhooba. Although the Mahouts speak very little English, Govind, our Co ordinator, was with us daily to answer our questions and ensure we were still able to interact with the Mahouts and learn a great deal about the life of a working elephant.We were able to feed and bath the elephants daily and make elephant chapatis! The work does begin early, at 5 am but this does mean, the late mornings and afternoons are free to explore. Sukret, Govind and our driver were excellent helping us and providing advice when needed. The program is very professionally run and is to be commended.
People seeking to take part in the project should be aware that these are working elephants and although they are well cared for and have good relationships with their Mahouts, they are chained up for much of the time which does give rise to some welfare concerns. All the elephants were very friendly and showed no sign of depression. They were not over worked and did have regular veterinary care. In February, there are Elephant Games, when the elephants will play games such as football etc.They are trained for a period before this. This would be an excellent time to volunteer!

What would you improve about this program?
it would have been wonderful to be involved in training the elephants for the games but the timing was wrong.
Default avatar
NatalieG
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Lovely time in Jaipur!

This program was really great! I spent a month there this past summer and I learned quite a lot about the elephants in Jaipur and Indian culture. The elephants are wonderful to work with. I loved being able to bathe them in the lake and help the mahouts paint them. It can be difficult seeing the elephants work with such heavy chairs and be chained the way they are. However, you definitely gain perspective after you learn about the elephant culture in Jaipur and learn about how other elephants are treated in other projects. I think the elephants are well taken care of and the mahouts genuinely care about them. My host family was really great too! I had a lot of time to myself, but they were really friendly and helped me with shopping. My room was great and I really liked that I had my own bathroom. I also enjoyed the sightseeing that was organized on the weekends - there are a lot of beautiful, interesting places to see in and around Jaipur. The program staff also helped me plan a trip to visit the Taj Mahal, which was stunning.
Overall, this program was amazing and I hope I can go back one day!

What would you improve about this program?
You have to pay for wifi and bottled water. Both are really cheap so it's not a big deal, but it's always nice to know what costs you will come across before you arrive for a program.
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Thomas
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Experiance

Doing a Volunteer work with elephants in Jaipur was a wonderful experience.
First of all, thanks to our host family they take care us well. They not only shared incredible love but also very informative, patient and gave us plenty of options during our stay.
At first on our day 1, I must admit I was rather timid around the elephants but after thirty minutes I felt like I had made some new best friends. During our stay my wife, some friends and I learned how to feed the elephants and establish a relationship. Soon, we were doing things I never imagined like bathing and feeding the elephants from close-up.

Doing a care work with elephants isn't just a fun experience but a true bonding experience between you and these wonderful, mysterious animals. Not only do you leave with a greater understanding of the species but an appreciation for mahouts efforts in creating a serene and humane habitat for the elephants. If you're going to India spend at least 1 weeks with them.

What would you improve about this program?
Not any!
Default avatar
Grace
6/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Elephants are amazing, host family are a nightmare!

The actual volunteer project working directly with the elephants was amazing! The mahouts are wonderful to talk to and are clearly devoted to their animals. , govind and Raj were fantastic!

However, our group had travelled a lot around India before arriving at the project, and so were familiar with costs and scamming. Our host family at Prity guest house took advantage of the naiivety of the other volunteers and were taking them to shops where they would receive commission for extortionate tourist prices. As well as this, they were charging ALOT for henna, their own clothes and paintings that they were trying to sell the volunteers! They were rude and obviously did not want us in their home.

Overall the project was fantastic, and working with the elephants and their mahouts should not be missed. However, if you are interested in this project, PLEASE request other accommodation, as it ruined our entire experience.

Response from Volunteering With India

Dear Grace,

Thank you for giving us rating in the program. We understand overall your experience in the project was wonderful but only you did not like the host family. We did not have any complains so far for the family and it is the first time we get a bad review for the family. As we recommend all our volunteers if there is any problem between the project please tell us so that we can fix in time. I had also met with your group in 4 times in a week and you did not told me about that. If problems are told us in time; we can fix it. But we consider your review and if in the future found these things we will change the family.

Sukret

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Amanda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Elephants, samosa parties and chai - Incredible India did not disappoint!

My flight arrived early but within 5 minutes Sukret was there to pick me up. A great Service.

The accommodation was very good, the guesthouse had everything you could need including WiFi internet, space to dry your clothes and a shop nearby that sold everything you would need day-to-day. The food was very tasty, available on demand and plenty of it – there was always the offer of more.

Toteram-ji, the taxidriver, drove me everywhere and he was awesome! I found that most of the time I would get into the tuk-tuk and I didn’t know where I was going but I always went somewhere exciting! I will miss our samosa parties in the tuk-tuk a lot. He was on time, his driving was great and his smiley hallo, good morning! at 4:30 a.m was always much appreciated.

Govind was my project supervisor and he really made my trip amazing. He was very helpful with any questions. I am yet to find one he couldn’t answer. He included me in things outside the project with his friends and family and I loved every minute of it. Sukret was also extremely helpful and answered my questions promptly. He was always around to check everything was ok.

I did the elephant project for 3 weeks. Everyday we left at 4:30 a.m and started by cleaning the elephant enclosure, picking up her poo with your bare hands, washing and scrubbing the elephant, then dressing the elephant ready to go to amber fort. Once the elephants had left we made bundles of food for them to eat later. Some afternoons we would make chappathi’s for the elephants. The mahouts were great fun and I could always get involved with whatever they were doing. The project itself was really enjoyable with a highlight being washing the elephant in the elephant pool on my last morning.

I was bit nervous about going to India with VWI, but there was absolutely no need to be. The staff at VWI was professional, friendly and couldn’t have been more accommodating. They were very inclusive and I really enjoyed getting involved and learning about Indian culture firsthand. I was treated so well – I loved meeting their families and their friends. My sari will remind me of all the great times I spent with them. The sightseeing trips on the weekends were very well organized and included everything. Jaipur is a wonderful city to live in.

I got to experience all the projects offered by VWI; this organization does such a worthwhile job. All projects are well-run and great value for money. All transportation food and accommodation is organized for you, all you have to do is enjoy every minute of the experience, the end of my time in India came a bit too fast.

I would give VWI 10/10, I had an awesome time and want to thank everyone involved. I would highly recommend this company to future volunteers and will come back the next time I am in India.

What would you improve about this program?
Originally I thought I wanted to go to India with a larger international organisation so that there would be 10-20 volunteers out on project. I am very glad that I didn't as I definitely feel I got to experience the culture much more this way. But I would say that I would go back to India at a different time of year. When I went on the programme it was mid August (very hot season in India), so there were fewer volunteers.

Next time I would ideally go at a busier time of year for VWI, and also try and plan my trip to be in India over a festival time. I have seen photos of VWI including volunteers during festivals and I would love to experience that!
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Justine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer Elephant India

Project was good, all mahouts that I worked with were friendly and tried to talk to me even limited English. Elephant work was good. It was good to be up close and personal with the elephants. All were well trained and I felt 100% safe when working closely with them. The Transport was reliable, on time and friendly. Project coordinator Raj was great to show us around and answer our question about elephants, the project, Indian culture. His English is really good which enabled us to communicate with him and the mahouts. Project was great, everything associated with the elephants was amazing, such a great experience.

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Nina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Jai Ho! Chai & Elephants

The elephant project is incredible! The mahouts were very friendly and obviously we devoted to their elephants. Being able to wash and bathe the elephants was a highlight! The Project coordinator was amazing , very helpful and lovely to talk to. Totoram was the best driver. He was so friendly and accommodating & took us every morning for chai!
I will be back again with my mother.

Default avatar
Rita
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible India & Elephants

The Project itself was very enjoyable. It was cool to get to know the elephant. The work was not too challenging. The Mahouts were friendly and joking with us. Raj the project coordinator was pleasant to have with us. Govind and Sukret were very accommodating too. Totoram the driver was kind and caring and we enjoyed his presence.
Definitely recommend the project.

What would you improve about this program?
No critical feedback, only the project starts too early but we can't do anything that's already mentioned before we joined.
Default avatar
Tom
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Lovely time with Elephants

I had a wonderful time in Jaipur with Elephants. During my 4 weeks of project with VWI i also go to visit some of the beautiful places in Jaipur, Agra, Pushkar & Delhi. Here people are so friendly.

My work with the elephants starts everyday in morning; VWI has dedicated driver which pick me up in time and drop at the project site; there is project coordinator always there which assist me all the work to help mahouts and to care elephants. My work was there to everyday clean the area, wash the elephants, feed them and also go to afternoon to made chapati's. The work environment with the elephants and mahouts is so happy and fun.

The host family is so nice, my room was nice, food was great. I definitely recommend this project for future volunteers.

What would you improve about this program?
I did not found any!
Default avatar
carol
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Authentic experience

I went to Jaipur to work with the elephants and what a great experience it was.

If you are looking for an authentic experience then this is the project for you. From the family to the transport it is the real deal.

I was worried as a lone slightly older traveller about how safe I would be. I need not have worried at all, at every stage the organisation exceeded expectations leaving me free to enjoy the experience.

The day starts early and so if you are working with the elephants you have a lot of downtime. It is worth noting here it may be better to do this trip with a friend since I did get a little bored at the house.

Whilst on the trip it was the Holie festival and what fun be aware that you are not told to oil your body before playing so that the powder does not stain. I was bright pink for almost a week!!! Thanks Sukret.

Live a little and go for this adventure.

What would you improve about this program?
Shopping was a trial because it seem s to be the aim to get as much out of the tourists as is possible. Be prepared to barter.

The meal times were really random and on more than one occasion we were left wondering if we were going to be fed. Indeed a few times no breakfast or lunch was provided. I would have liked to have set times for meals so that I could work round them.

It is also worth remembering the family are running a business so everything costs.
Response from Volunteering With India

Thank you Carol for giving the feedback and 100% rating. We are sorry about the improper food for the time when you volunteer with us. The reason as you were also aware that the host family brother was died during the time when you were volunteering. This makes them not to provide the meals for volunteers in time for 4 days - As there was a peace time in the family. We are sorry about the issue :(

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Tara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Happiness, Curry and Elephants

I would highly recommend this organization. I did the Volunteer With Elephants program and had a truly amazing experience. I really can't express how it changed my life.

From the moment I got there, and even before arriving, I had support from their staff. They always made sure I had what I needed and was safe..which was very valuable being a woman traveling alone.

They really set you up to be comfortable and the value of having a driver was very nice. The manager/owner of this organization always took the time to take me and see things I would have never known how to find, explain where to go for shopping.

The tour you get at the end is also worth it in itself. I loved spending time with the elephants and everything was hands on.

The town was beautiful and so full of history and character. Lots of sight seeing! Everyday was a new unique experience and I met a lot of really nice people.

The family I stayed with was very hospitable, although the food was a little oily and vegetarian it was really tasty. I had my own room with a shower and always felt welcome. The girls there did Henna for me and even helped me shop for a Sari and local attire.

All in all I had an incredible experience, I would highly recommend this organization as it has a personable and human aspect to it. If you are thinking of going, and have more questions feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Never stop travelling :-)

What would you improve about this program?
It is really easy to get taken advantage of their when purchasing items at the market. You really have to bargain and you also get a lot of attention. If you look at is as an adventure though and go in with a good attitude you will be fine. Yes there is poverty and it will smell and you will see things you wish you didn't its all part of the experience.
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Michele
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with the Elephants

Ms by Michele
on December 16, 2012
I would like to pass on what an amazing experience it is in Jaipur with the awesome elephants. I was made to be so welcome by all, from the coordinators to the fab mahouts. Tutarum ji who picked us up from our guest house was a real character and always made sure we found plenty of drinking holes for a lovely cup of real Indian chai, we had chance to go to teach the children at a school. They were such a great bunch of kids, and very clever.I was invited to two weddings and they were very colourful and lively. I didn't have to worry about anything accommodation was seen to and All I had to worry about was getting up on time!!
If I could I would do it all again.
If you love history Jaipur has lots to offer. Thanks Sukret and Govind and Tutarum Ji for making it the best experience ever.....

What would you improve about this program?
I would like to have had chance to bathe the elephants at the elephant village, but it was wrong time of year to do this. I guess having more time with the ellies, but being with them early mornings gives you the chance to explore Jaipur and make lots of new friends......
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Alex
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Do it!

Most insane crazy fun filled week of my life! This project is great way to enhance the travel experience- turning it from a self indulge holiday to something where you actually have make a difference in someone life.

Not to mention the amazing side activities like riding elephants, the extreme consumption of chai, feeding monkeys and riding on motorcycles to midnight temples, and attending a 12 hour Indian wedding (If you're lucky!)

If this is your first experience volunteering in another country, VWI is great way to get you started.

What would you improve about this program?
We paid alot of money to participate in the program, and only around 5% of it went to the organisation we volunteered with - I would like to see more money go to those who need it.
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Sian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

'haathi' heaven

I spent only one week on the volunteer programme with elephants in Jaipur. However, this proved the most life changing week I think I'll ever experience.

On arrival in Jaipur I was greeted by Sukret at the airport, and transported to the guest house. The host family were so welcoming, and all the food provided was amazing, it was absolutely impossible to go hungry!

Staff at VWI were so friendly and willing to help, and the mahouts despite language barriers were also friendly and supportive, so the whole working experience was made very comfortable.
Myself and another volunteer worked between two villages of elephants, and we also experienced a day at one of VWI's other projects (Children project), which was great and the children were so lovely!

India is a beautiful country, VWI workers were more than happy to show the wonders of the amazing pink city once work was over. At the weekend we visited a traditional Rajasthani village resort called 'Chokhi Dhani'

This project was fun, different and educating. I have recommended this project to many friends, and I hope to return soon to work with VWI again.

What would you improve about this program?
It would have been even more fun to share this experience with more volunteers, though I know this is not a factor brought about by VWI.
Response from Volunteering With India

Thanks Sian, You were also a very good volunteer in the Village. We wish you best in your life and Hope to see you soon here with your friends.

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About Volunteering With India

Volunteering With India gives you opportunity to work in India for various development volunteering program including work with children, Orphanage work, Work with elephants,Women empowerment & Theater Volunteer program.