What is the structure in which people sit on the elephant called in English?

Here is a picture which describes exactly what I mean. The structure here is in silver color, and has three people on it.

n.b. I don't know the name of it even in my native language.

  • 3
    I would call it a "structure in which people sit on an elephant," or something like that.
    – Menasheh
    Dec 28, 2016 at 7:43

2 Answers 2


To the best of my knowledge, it's called a howdah.

"howdah: a seat or covered pavilion on the back of an elephant or camel"


Please bear in mind that this is not originally an English word, but a Persian / Urdu / Arabic one. However, as with much of English, rather than come up with our own words for foreign objects, we simply borrowed the local term for it and assimilated it into the English language.

  • 8
    As a footnote, these are called loanwords, and English has quite a few of them, including several of Hindi/Urdu origin
    – J.R.
    Dec 27, 2016 at 14:58
  • 4
    There really isn't much point in having an actual word for it in English. It's not like the average Brit ever sees/saw one of these unless he/she happens to live in one of the former colonies.
    – Richard
    Dec 27, 2016 at 15:06
  • 10
    @Industrious The fact that the word originated in another language does not mean it's not the correct English word. Many common English words have etymological origins in other languages.
    – barbecue
    Dec 27, 2016 at 16:33
  • 3
    @J.R.: It wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration to say that English IS a bunch of loan words :-)
    – jamesqf
    Dec 27, 2016 at 18:40
  • 3
    @jamesqf - Indeed. As has been commented before, "We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary". Dec 27, 2016 at 19:05

It is called a howdah.

howdah - noun

(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.

Oxford Living Dictionary

Wikipedia: Howdah

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