Amer Fort's renovation puts a month's break on elephant rides

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Amer, Apr 18 : The renovation of the centuries-old Amer Fort on the outskirts of Rajasthan's capital Jaipur has led a temporary halt of popular elephant rides.

Over 100 elephants are used to ferry tourists up to Amer Fort.

The ride is a major attraction for the tourists, who are fascinated at seeing the pachyderms move along the serpentine paths to the top of the majestic fort, a luxuary not available in most western countries.

Therefore, renovation work slated to be undertaken at one of the gates of the fort, the ride has been temporarily suspended for the month of May by Rahasthan's Department of Tourism.

"The main reason for the suspension of the ride is the renovation work to be undertaken on a fort gate. Since the gate falls on the route of the ride, it is necessary to suspend this for a month," said Urmila Rajoriya, Additional Director, Rajasthan Tourism.

The suspension of the ride has left elephant owners worried. They lament that this temporary suspension would affect their earnings badly.

"The ban will adversely affect tourism and also the elephant owners. If there are 100 elephants and if they make even two trips a day to the fort, they earn some amount. But a complete ban for a month will badly affect our earnings and will make it difficult for us to bear the expenditure of the elephants," said Shyam Gupta, a spokesperson of the Elephant Owners' Association.

Elephant ride was introduced at Amer Fort in 1953 with a single elephant. Now, there are 120 elephants in use.

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