Can you think about a place, more like a world of elephants of different sizes and natures??
Some of the elephants gentle and friendly while some others are really aggressive enough to be severely restricted by chains.
Would you like to find you surrounded by the giants, that means almost 66 – 85 elephants kept in a 10 acres plot of coconut grooves??
If you would like to, there is a place in Kerala…
ANAKOTTA (means elephant fort) in Central Kerala. This place will welcome you with a huge army of elephants..
This elephant sanctuary and premises are owned by Guruvayur temple.
Guruvayoor temple is 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).
It is not a sanctuary in the strictest sense of the word. The place is neither a forest area nor do elephants roam around freely. Yet, the place has a charm about it with jumbos all around. The elephants are placed well apart from each other and a nice walk-around has been created for visitors to go around and witness the biggies on either side. Needless to say, the elephants are chained. Although, that is not that the best way to see the elephants, I guess considering the safety of visitors, that is the ideal solution.
As you keep walking along the pathway, you never get a feel, elephant is just an elephant, whether it is one or sixty of them. Each elephant has something unique to offer that you want to capture every little act that each one engages in. There is an old saying that one never gets bored looking at a moon, sea, sky, new born child and elephant. It is said that they continuously keep offering interesting sights for one to remain bespectacled.
Another interesting thing is that each and every elephants have their own name and identity in there.
These elephants are very well taken care of. They are given an elaborate bath, lots of greens to chew on and in most cases enough shade to stand in. And then there are the elephants in heat, which are kind of quarantined from the rest with a Warning signboard cautioning the visitors from getting close to these mammals.
Initially, elephants were kept in Kovilakom compound in close proximity to the temple itself. As their numbers grew, they were relocated to their current locale which used to be the palace grounds of the local ruler.
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.
There were 86 elephants housed there, but currently there are about 66 elephants. The elephants are ritual offerings made by the devotees of Lord Guruvayurappa. This facility is also used to train the elephants to serve Lord Krishna as well as participate in many festivals that occur throughout the year. The oldest elephant is around 82 years of age. The rituals of Gajapooja (Worshipping Elephants) and Anayoottu (Feeding Elephants) are observed here, as an offering to Lord Ganesha. Punnathurkotta has made with traditional Kerala architectural style with the naalu kettu, a traditional rectangular home with a central courtyard, which belonged to the Punnathur Raja. This palace has a heritage of about 400 years. It is poorly maintained and presently houses a training school for Papans (Mahout). This complex also contains a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Bhagavathy.
Once in a life time you have to visit this place..
So, who all are planning a trip??