A new book illustrates the complex relationship between this holy icon and the rapidly modernising nation

The elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh, son of Shiva, is revered for his intellect and wisdom and his image can be found across India, his iconography celebrated with great pomp during the annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival (this year 29 August).

In day-to-day life, elephants continue to play a big role in Indian society – in religious temples, at tourist sites, on the polo fields of Rajasthan, in the wilds of the national parks and even swimming the Bay of Bengal. A new book by photographer Annette Bonnier seeks to document their interaction with humanity – for better and for worse – by studying the extraordinary bond between animal and mahout, and the elephant’s place in modern India.

India’s Elephants by Annette Bonnier is published by B and B Press (£50; booksandbooks.com).


Annette Bonnier (annettebonnier.com) will be giving an illustrated talk about the book at Waterstones Piccadilly in London at 6pm on Thursday 5 June. Tickets £5/£3 Waterstones cardholders (020 7851 2400; email piccadilly@waterstones.com).