Located in Kottapadi, about 3 km from the Guruvayur Temple, Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary is a famous elephant sanctuary in Thrissur district of Kerala. The prime attractions here are the jumbo elephants; approximately 60 of them are kept and taken care of here. This place is used to train elephants to participate in major processions and daily rituals of Guruvayur Temple. One might even get a chance to watch the gigantic bull elephants being trained for their duties.
Sprawling over 11.5 acres and surrounded by green vegetation, this elephant sanctuary or camp is a very elegant place. The playing elephant along with the scenic surrounding paints a very awe-inspiring and magical picture here. Watching the cute little elephants running around and splashing water at each other is a sight one definitely doesn’t want to miss. Hordes of tourists visit this spot on their way back from Guruvayur Temple.
Things To Do In Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary:
• People can observe two main rituals of this sanctuary, the Gajapooja (worshipping elephants) and Anayottu (feeding elephants) every year with several attendees, who are here enjoy the ceremony.
• During the normal days, the visitors can simply enjoy the view of magnificent elephants gazing in lushly green gardens. The visitors can also see elephants bathing and massaging, using small stones and coconut husks. It is a pleasant moment to watch these giant animals enjoying their bath.
• The main attraction of this sanctuary is a 500 years old palace, built by the erstwhile local ruler- Punnathur Raja.
• The palace in the sanctuary is constructed in a traditional style of Kerala known as Nalukettu, design according to the climatic and geographical factors of the state. This distinctive design includes a rectangular style building with a sloping roof, a central courtyard open from the top and wooden carvings.
• This complex also has a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Bhagavathy. One can visit this Shiva temple to get the blessings.
• People can get the opportunity to feed the elephants here. Visitors can also capture some wonderful moments with the elephants in their camera.
• Visitors can also see the elephant training session, which is fun to watch.
• One can explore the green beauty of nature in the adjoining areas.
Interesting Facts About Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary:
• Punnathur Kotta Palace was purchased by the Guruvayur Devasom Board in 1975 to house all the elephants of the temple in comfortable surroundings.
• The Punnathur Kotta is also known as Elephant Fort, owing to its large size and number of elephants.
• The most celebrated elephant in the history of Kerala was Kesavan. His impressive and behavioral qualities made him one of the most popular elephants. The elephant passed away in 1975 after serving the temple for a period of 54 years. A 12 ft. statue of Kesavan is constructed in front of the temple and every year on his death anniversary, a floral tribute is given by the elephants on his statue.
In case visitors want to explore some places in and around Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary, they can visit some popular attractions like Vadakkunnathan Temple, Kollengode Palace, Nehru Park, Mural Art Museum, Kerala Lalithakala Temple, Viyyur Jail Park, Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours, and Thrissur Zoo, which have gained popularity as tourist’s attractions.
Best Time to Visit:
The suitable time to visit Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary is between the months of November and March.
How To Reach There:
As this sanctuary is well-connected by road and rail it is reached very easily. There are numerous auto-rickshaws and buses, which are used for reaching the camp in Thrissur.
The entry fee for Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary is Rs 10 for adults. An extra Rs 25 is charged for the use of a camera inside the place.
The visiting time of Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary or camp is 8.30 am to 5.00 pm
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