One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in South Asia) a seat for riding on the back of an elephant or camel, typically with a canopy and accommodating two or more people.
- ‘We saw tigers, too, as close as you like from the swaying perch of the howdah on the back of the elephants.’
- ‘Our little lord, perched imperiously in his howdah, was gradually succumbing to the chill wind out of the south.’
- ‘In Jodhpur, the finely restored Meherangarh Fort offers a fascinating glimpse into the old Maharajas' lifestyles, with decorative elephant howdahs and family cradles on display.’
- ‘The umpire of the game oversees the play from a wooden howdah (bench type seat) on the back of the largest elephant.’
- ‘Better yet, you see most of it on foot (heavily restricted elsewhere in India) or on elephant-back, perched atop a cushioned howdah.’
- ‘In the 1970s, the government stepped in to conduct the procession with the idol of the Goddess placed on the golden howdah.’
- ‘Riding a six-tusked elephant on a howdah of lotus flowers, the huge tenth-century statue of Bodhisattva Puxian stands in its own hall and is among the most revered shrines on Emei.’
From Urdu haudah, from Arabic hawdaj ‘litter’.
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