Elephant Training Centres in Kerala
Elephant’s Camps/ Training centers in Kerala
In God’s Own Country Elephants are an integral part. Elephants are often referred to as the sons of the ‘Sahya’ (the Western Ghats). No festival or celebration is complete without an elephant procession. Once a part of everyday life in Kerala, elephants are the most ornamental and auspicious animals here.
- KODANAD – THE LARGEST ELEPHANT TRAINING CENTER IN KERALA
Kodanad, set on the Southern banks of the Periyar River amid the beautiful high ranges near Perumbavoor, is one of the largest elephant training centers in Kerala. Earlier elephants captured from the Malayatoor forests (the forests in the East and North of Kodanad) were trained here. Since the introduction of a ban on elephant capture Kodanad has been reduced to a training center. The famous Malayatoor Church is near Kodanad.
Nearest railway station: Ernakulum, about 45 km
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, via Vallom – Kodanad Rd, about 20 km
2. KONNI- ELEPHANT TRAINING CENTER
Konni is a popular training center for elephants in Kerala. Located in the district of Pathanamthitta, it is a major center of tourist attraction in Kerala, and attracts visitors in large numbers throughout the year.
Situated about 11 km from Pathanamthitta, the main attraction at the elephant-training centre at Konni is the huge cages built of wood to house elephants. This massive wooden cage is locally known as Aanakoodu and can accommodate three to four elephants at a time.
The chief task of the trainers here at Konni is to train baby elephants, which are brought to the training center after getting separated from its herd, or found wounded and roaming lonely in the forest. Experienced trainers, who employ some of the time-tested methods to tame the baby elephants, follow systematic training methodologies. Some of the training programmes besides making the elephants to obey commands include, daily exercises in the morning, which also include a walk in the premises, followed by bath and feeding of a special diet.
At Konni, visitors can get a close look at these trainee elephants and can observe and understand a lot about their behavior, especially that of baby elephants, which are often mischievous and are focus of attention of majority of the visitors, especially children.
One can also find bigger elephants at the centre, and a ride on these majestic animals is an exciting one. The bigger elephants are also sometimes used for works inside the forest land adjoining the training center.It is obviously a training school with a difference; where size really doesn’t matter.
Nearest railway station: Chengannur, about 35 km
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about 100 km
3. ANAKOTTA – GURUVAYOOR ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
Anakotta (anathavalam) is a unique place – a world of elephants of different sizes and natures.Some are gentle and friendly, some are indifferent while a few are aggressive enough to be severely restricted by chains.Elephant sanctuary is only a couple of kilometers from the temple town of Guruvayoor in Trissur district. Elephants are associated with Hindu temples and have roles in certain rituals.
Sanctuary premises as well as the animals are owned by Guruvayoor temple. Temple management takes care of all aspects of their care. Guruvayoor temple, one of the prominent temples in India, receives so many kinds of donations from devotees. They are all for the deity Lord Guruvayoorappan (Sri Krishna).
The local rulers, Punnathur Rajas built a palace which was called Punnathur Kotta (Punnatur Fort). After the demise of the last ruler Goda Varma Valia Raja, the property went to receivership. Soon after purchasing it in 1975, Guruvayoor temple committee relocated their elephants to here.
Made in traditional Kerala architectural style (Nalu Kettu), this palace has a heritage of about 400 years. Located prominently in the middle of the sanctuary, it is currently used as a Mahout training center. When.When the palace grounds became elephant sanctuary, people started calling it Anakotta (also Anakkotta) which means elephant fort.
Elephant sanctuary is open from 8.00 till 6.00 every day.The entry charges are nominal except for video cameras.
How to reach
The Sanctuary is located on the Ponnani – Guruvayoor Road near to Kottappadi.