For tourists, the Elephant Fountain is definitely a symbol of Indian memories in French city Chambéry, nestled among the Alps mountains. Built in 1838 in honor of General de Boigne, the fountain is today one of the city’s most famous monuments. A small statue of Ganesha is also placed above the Elephant Fountain. It tells tourists that Ganesha, the deity with the head of an elephant and the body of a man, is a symbol of abundance and wisdom in Hinduism. The presence of four Elephants and idol of Ganesha is surely an indication of the vast fortune accumulated by General de Boigne during his stay in India between 1778 and 1796. He also renovated the Taj Mahal while staying in Agra. He held an important position in the army of Maharaja Scindia. On the death of Maharaja Scindia in 1794, he could have usurped power if he wished, but he remained loyal to Daulat Rao Scindia, the legitimate heir.
In failing health in 1795, he relinquished his command, installed his confidante Peron in his place, and returned to Europe, with an Indian princess whom he married in 1788 and bore him two children.
The Elephants Fountain, historically called the Boigne Column and today more simply “The Elephants” or nicknamed “The Four Without Ass”.