H.E. the Viceroy's elephants, Benares
Photographer: Bourne and Shepherd
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a group of state elephants, with ceremonial howdahs, at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, taken by Bourne and Shepherd in the 1870s. These highly caparisoned elephants, seen here with their drivers, or mahouts, belonged to the entourage of the Viceroy of India. Succeeding Viceroys, throughout the nineteenth century, appropriated the traditional trappings of Imperial India to reinforce their position as the rulers of the sub-continent, and attended Durbars riding on these richly adorned animals.