Elephants are the largest living land mammals. At birth it is common for an elephant calf to weigh 100 kg. It takes 20 to 22 months for a baby elephant to mature to birth, the longest gestation period of any land animal.
An elephant may live as long as 70 years
In India, elephants have been an integral part of their cultural history, dating as far back as the Vedic Period (1500B.C. to 600B.C.) References are made in these early times to their domesticity and tameness.
Elephants eventually gained a higher status than the horse, which was an extremely important animal in Indian culture. The elephant became the carrier (vahana) of Indra, the King of the Gods. They were also prominent in the stories of Buddha with elephant festivals and processions being commonplace. By 231B.C. the elephant had become the emblem of Buddhism and they appeared as prominent features in artistic carvings. Elephant possession and use as a royal mount was firmly established and along with this they became an asset of war.
War elephants in India were used from the 1st millennium B.C. to the early 19th century. A staggering number of elephants have died fighting wars during India’s history.