The Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Hills are located approximately 80 kms from Mysore at a elevation of 1200 mts. The hills are famous for the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) which is a very important pilgrimage site for locals. It is also home to a tiger reserve: the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary.
BR Hills has always been one of my favourite locations. Its close proximity to Bangalore makes it an ideal short trip. On one such trip, we reached the forest very early, in time for the morning safari. But we found out upon reaching that there would only be an afternoon safari that day. Since we had time to spend, we wandered around the forest department office, and spent time photographing flora and fauna.
Soon, the frequency of traffic increased, and a large group of students arrived there. The children seemed to be excited to be out in the wild, and explored the surroundings on their own. That’s when the elephant caught their attention. At the forest department office next door and the adjoining lake, it is common to see captive elephants chained up. These elephants are usually being trained for various tasks in the forest or recovering from participating in parades in festivals like Dasara. The children quickly made their way there to get a glimpse.
The scene that unfolded was interesting, in that both the kids and the elephant were curious and cautious about each other. The kids were restrained both by their teachers and their instincts about approaching an animal. I watched the interaction and felt that the elephant was cautious about so many humans approaching it at the same time. The mahout was present to ensure that the elephant remained calm and restrained.
For me the image represents hope. It represents the curiosity that we adults tend to lose as we get older. If we are to make a better future where we live in harmony with nature, we need to educate the next generation to ensure that they don’t lose their curiosity, and that they are encouraged to preserve what is precious to them.
This image always reminds me of a quote that I once read:We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.