Rajan, The Swimming Elephant of Andamans
Once there are many elephants in this herd which could swim easily, but now, Rajan, a sexagenarian, is the only remaining elephant left in entire Indian sub-continent who can swim in the sea. He has achieved world-wide fame which even brought him to the silver screen. So, plan a visit to Port Blair without wasting time and book a cruise from the city to Havelock Island, where you can see this stunning scene with your own eyes.
If you are an adventure loving person, Andaman and Nicobar Islands is waiting for you by arranging a really thrilling chance. You can enjoy a dive or snorkel with Rajan in the islands. Swimming in the blue and clear water in the islands with this amazing tusker besides you, will surely be a memorable experience. It will definitely add extra swing to your trip to the Islands. You can get many underwater professionals who can help you make this unforgettable trip and even swim with Rajan. You can also hire few available professional photographers to click you, while swimming with Rajan.
Every year, several professional underwater photographers and leading magazine journalists visit this island just to have an opportunity to interact with this amazing swimming champion and to make records of this unforgettable event. Similarly many snorkelers and divers from all over the world come here to experience and mesmerize in this unique, enriching and once in a lifetime experience. You have to book ahead of time to have a dive or snorkel with Rajan.
It is definitely a difficult task even for human beings to swim in sea for long time. So, you can imagine that how amazing sight it would be to watch a 6 ton swim in the ocean for long hours at a stretch. Actually his hobby of swimming works as an exercise and it keeps him going for so long without much health issues.
Watching Rajan’s performance in the sea is an interesting thing. Once the divers enter the water, he slowly makes his way down to the waterline with his mahout on his back. Rajan walks through the water slowly enjoying himself. He slowly lifts his hind legs and resume walking on the front legs, while it gets deeper. With the water getting deep enough for him to swim, he eventually lifts his front legs from the ground and starts swimming.
Rajan, who was born in captivity in mainland India around 1950, was trained like any other log-picker. He was even forced to swim with the massive loads. It was a Korean businessman, who brought Rajan to Andaman Islands in his twenties to work in the timber industry. Rajan worked in the Little Andaman until around 2002. When logging was banned in the islands in 2002, nearly 200 elephants were sent back to the subcontinent. But, a wealthy owner, who did not want to send Rajan back to the Indian mainland, kept him in Havelock Island. Thus he could enjoy a blissful life here eating bananas and swimming in the crystal clear water.
Some years before, a tourist lodge named Barefoot Resort in Andaman and Nicoabr Islands launched a campaign to raise funds to protect Rajan. People at Barefoot Resorts succeeded in collecting huge amount of money to protect Rajan through various merchandising methods like selling Rajan T-shirts, and offering an opportunity to the people to swim or dive with him once. Now he is retired and spends his time with his mahout or caretaker enjoying swimming and walking through the forests where he once logged. The resorts authorities do not force the animal to swim with every tourist who come here, and the chance only depends upon his mood.
Rajan, actually carries a magical touch and this enchants not only the visitors but also the enhances the attractions in Andamans. Diving or snorkeling with Rajan is a brilliant experience and nobody, who visits Andaman and Nicobar Islands, should miss this golden opportunity. Rajan is aware that he is photographed while swimming but he is a very friendly elephant and watching this majestic beast paddle easily through the water is a magical moment.