The elephant is a very huge and ugly animal. It walks very majestically. Its proboscis is a very useful and flexible organ, with which it eats and drinks and lifts up things. It can stiffen it when necessary so that a man can climb upon it, and get on its back. Its column-like legs. its fan-like ears, its small eyes, its huge head and back give it a very odd appearance.
Elephants are used in these days only for show, or for hunting, otherwise, they are of no earthly use. Only Rajas, Nawabs, and rich people can keep an elephant, as it is very expensive. On courts, or ceremonial occasions in States, they are decked with gold and silver ornaments and are caparisoned with silk and richly embroidered cloths.
The driver is called the Mahawat, and he has great control on the animal. He trains it into habits of obedience. It obeys the Mahawat like a docile child. The Mahuwat has an iron goad in his hand, with which he directs the elephant, and heats it when it is naughty. The back of the elephant is covered with padded mattresses which are fastened with ropes to make a level seat. People climb on it with the help of a ladder which may always be seen hanging on one side. The servants climb over the tail. Rich people have hawdas (chairs) placed on its back, which for a short distance, but it is very weary for long distances. The elephant sometimes runs, also. It treads very cautiously.
In old times, elephants were used in war. Poros had a large number of elephants in his fight against Alexander, but they spread great confusion and trampled their own men under their feet. Now these slow-footed animals are not used in war. They are mostly kept for show.