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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick-Reading Fun in India
The British seem to be particularly adept at coming up with whimsical ideas, making them happen, and then writing about them (cf. comedian Tony Hawk's Round Ireland With A Fridge, and Playing the Moldovans At Tennis or journalist Andrew Marshall's The Trouser People to mention just a few recent examples). Shand continues the tradition, concocting a scheme to buy an...
Published on 30 July 2002 by A. Ross

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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not received
this book was ordered second hand from a market place trader, i have not received it yet although it was 'dispatched' at the beginning of april. i have contacted amazon and the trader direct, i have received a reply from the trader but have not got anywhere, very disappointing.
i rated a one star as i had to place a rating to review the product.
Published on 18 May 2010 by R. E. Shanahan


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick-Reading Fun in India, 30 July 2002
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Travels on My Elephant (Paperback)
The British seem to be particularly adept at coming up with whimsical ideas, making them happen, and then writing about them (cf. comedian Tony Hawk's Round Ireland With A Fridge, and Playing the Moldovans At Tennis or journalist Andrew Marshall's The Trouser People to mention just a few recent examples). Shand continues the tradition, concocting a scheme to buy an elephant and march around India on its back. This quick-reading book is an account of his adventure in India, where he purchases an emaciated 30-year old elephant for about $6,000 from a pair of saddhus (mystic holy men) in the province of Orissa (a few hundred kilometers SW of Calcutta). His goal is to walk her from the coast to the great elephant market on the banks of the Ganges at Sonepur Mela, some 1000 kilometers north, in Bihar, where he would sell her.
However, as he soon discovers, elephants have a lot of personality, and he quickly falls in love with his. The pleasure of the book is not its travelogue description of the sights and sounds along the way (although these do break things up), but the mischievous antics of the elephant and the discovery of its personality as a loving and lovable creature. Tara, the elephant, displays remarkable intelligence and wit over the course of the journey, although at times Shand does veer into anthropomorphizing her. While he doesn't go deep into the role of the elephant in Indian and Hindu culture, it's clear from his travels that they are widely revered as symbols of Ganesh, as bystanders often often small prayers and alms to Tara.
Shand's own lessons in becoming a "mahoot", one who is versed in the ways of elephants and able to ride/guide one, is an equally fascinating and touching story. An older and younger mahoot are along to train him, as is a photographer friend and two rascally drivers with a support Jeep. It's a fun adventure, with a suspiciously fortuitous climax at the market, when Shand discovers he can't bear to sell his elephant for use as a moneymaking curiosity. It's a touching book in many ways, although some readers may be put off by the notion of a Westerner traipsing around a poor country on an elephant, especially given India's colonial past. Still whatever one may think of that, Shand's love for the animal is clearly genuine. He's written a followup book (Queen of the Elephants), that's apparently not as good.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the book for elephant lovers, 5 April 2001
This review is from: Travels on My Elephant (Paperback)
Mark Shand has the ability to let you make his elephant journey via his words. It is a 'must' read for elephant lovers. The book is a mixture of a travel experience, elephant anecdotes and a love story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars india, 19 July 2009
By 
pat (scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Travels on My Elephant (Paperback)
Brilliant book; read it ions ago when first out. Bought it for our our son prior a trip to India, he loved it as much as we did,if you love life , animals, travel, and have compassion in your soul,buy this book!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and touching, 11 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Travels on My Elephant (Paperback)
Although at first this book seemed a vaguely amusing travelogue of an eccentric Brit (who happens to be Camilla Parker-Bowles brother), I was surprisingly touched and almost choked up towards the end when he goes to the elephant market and can't bear to part with his elephant - especially as by then I had also become really fond of her!! The ending does seem suspiciosly too good to be true but cheered me up nicely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gotta find an elephant, 2 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Travels on My Elephant (Paperback)
brilliant--if you love adventure--even better if you love India---you've got to read this.
Fascinating insight into rural local India by a Brit on the back of an elephant. All you'd want from an travel book and more. Wish it had been me!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A noble book for a noble animal, 15 April 2011
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This review is from: Travels on My Elephant (Paperback)
We had never heard of Mark Shand or his journey through India on Tara until we met the magnificent animal while on holiday this year. We spent a wonderful afternoon with her still unaware of her exploits until we returned to camp and found "Journeys on my Elephant" in their book collection. After reading the epilogue we were hooked and promised ourselves that as soon as we got home we would buy the book.

All the emotions are covered: humour, sadness, anger etc. It is a very easy book to read and should be included in your book collection if you like elephants or travelogues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant., 15 Mar. 2014
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When I started reading this book I must admit it did not seem to be very exciting, but I was wrong. The more I read the more involved I got with their travels. A really good read, and I'm glad the elephant ended up getting a good home.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For the Love of an Elephant, 8 Mar. 2011
By 
P. Ingham "Earl E Doors" (West Yorkshire England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Travels on My Elephant (Paperback)
Mark Shand, British travel writer and conservationist was restless. He was so restless that he decided to ride across India on an elephant. He started by looking at the feasibility of his idea and carried out a good deal of research. There is a bibliography in this book of some thirty titles. If he read them all or even simply consulted them he must now be a world authority on the Asian elephant. Mr Shand then travelled to India, spoke with a number of people he knew, bought an elephant and hired an entourage of experts to assist in his task.

It was decided that the trek would be from Konarak to Sonepur, across Orissa and Bihar.Mr Shand describes the journey expertly, with style and with a tongue in cheek sense of humour. He talks about his growing relationships with his helpers and, more particularly with his elephant Tara. He breaks of where necessary to describe the scenery and ancient buildings and at one point to recount an eerie story about Tara's refusal to cross an ancient battlefield.

His arrival at Sonepur is timed to coincide with the Mela because the Mela in part is an enormous elephant market and he knows he will be able, regrettably but necessarily, to dispose of Tara.

`Travels on my Elephant' was published in 1991.Eric Newby has also written about the Sonepur Mela in `The Land of the Elephants' (a chapter in `Departures and Arrivals' published in 1999). Both reports are vivid and very readable. Perhaps Mr Newby just has the edge in reportage, as he was not in love with his elephant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars From the back cover..., 8 Dec. 2007
ABOUT THE READER: Since studying at RADA, Paul Shelley has appeared in theatres throughout the country and in the West End. Recent credits include THE SEAGULL and MAJOR BARBARA. His film career began with OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR and also includes his part as Carmody in IT SHOULDN'T HAPPEN TO A VET, and Donalbain in Polanski's MACBETH. Recent television credits include PARADISE POSTPONED and INSPECTOR MORSE.

TRAVELS ON MY ELEPHANT: There is no better way to see India than from the howdah of an elephant, as Mark Shand discovers when he and Tara, a scrawny and ill-treated begging elephant, begin their 1000-kilometre journey through India to the world's oldest elephant market. Their story, a voyage through the vibrant chaos of modern India, is also a celebration of one of the oldest and richest associations between man and animal ever known--a partnership that has existed for over four thousand years and that is touchingly maintained in Shand's travels with Tara.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Shand has worked at Sotheby's and, as a jackaroo in Australia, has completed the London--Sydney motor-race and has been shipwrecked in the South Pacific. At present he divides his time between London, India and his home in Bali. He is co-author, with Don McCullin, of SKULDUGGERY, the story of a search for the head-hunting tribes of Indonesia.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 'trumpeting good read', 27 Dec. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Travels on My Elephant (Paperback)
What a great way to spend time. For anyone that has ever travelled on an elephant (and even those that have not but have wondered what it would be like..) this is a superb read. It has energy, wit and plenty of humour tinged with an almost sadness toward the end that Mark Tully has to leave his beloved Tara (his elephant) behind in India. Your senses are stimulated with the described sights and sounds of India and also the politics!This is a relaxing read that has the ability to incorporate you into the story itself, you feel what they feel and laugh with them too!
And if you enjoy this book then read the book that follows this remarkable story as Parbati is the supreme femanist and enjoys every minute of it!
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Travels on My Elephant
Travels on My Elephant by Mark Shand (Paperback - 27 Feb. 1992)
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