Parbati Baruah: India's First Female Elephant Mahout

By - Ravisha Poddar

Shattering Stereotypes

Meet Parbati Barua, ‘Hasti Kanya,’ India’s first female elephant mahout. Honored with the Padma Shri on Republic Day, 2024, she's redefining roles

Elephant Mahout Explained

A mahout is an elephant rider and caretaker. Traditionally experienced elephant-keeping families, share a lifelong bond with their majestic companions

Childhood Passion

Hailing from the Rajahs of Gauripur, Baruah's journey began at 14. Her passion for wildlife led her to the Kachugaon forests, marking the start of her elephant-keeping career

Bond with Elephants

Parbati's routine involves bathing, riding, and training elephants. Her special treat, 'Hadiya,' a rice-based delicacy, reflects the connection she shares with her gentle giants

Crossing Borders

Invited to Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, and Assam, Parbati showcased her skills in understanding and managing elephants

Government Partnerships

Collaborating with three state governments, Parbati actively contributes to scientific efforts in mitigating and capturing wild elephants

As a young woman, she chose to live and work amid her elephant family and distinguishes herself as the only female mahout in the world


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