📍 🇮🇳 The elephants of Ellora caves
Elephants have captured the imagination of Indian artists for thousands of years. The 8th century CE sculptures in Cave n°16 are proof of this. Majestic animals - symbol of divinity and royalty - that have been part of narratives in every religion, sect, popular art, children's stories.
No wonder English writer Rudyard Kipling, who spent his youth in Northern India at the end of the 19th century, described its grandeur so solemnly:
"Little Toomai looked, holding his breath, with his eyes staring out of his head, and as he looked, more and more and more elephants swung out into the open from between the tree trunks. There were white-tusked wild males, with fallen leaves and nuts and twigs lying in the wrinkles of their necks and the folds of their ears; fat, slow-footed she-elephants, with restless, little pinky black calves only three or four feet high running under their stomachs; young elephants with their tusks just beginning to show, and very proud of them; lanky, scraggy old-maid elephants, with their hollow anxious faces, and trunks like rough bark; savage old bull elephants, scarred from shoulder to flank with great weals and cuts of bygone fights, and the caked dirt of their solitary mud baths dropping from their shoulders; and there was one with a broken tusk and the marks of the full-stroke, the terrible drawing scrape, of a tiger’s claws on his side. They were standing head to head, or walking to and fro across the ground in couples, or rocking and swaying all by themselves—scores and scores of elephants."
These pillar-elephants are an ode to the love Indians feel for them.
___ Sources ___
>> Rudyard Kipling, “The Jungle Book”, 1894