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Kodanad, the abode of elephants

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Kodanad, the abode of elephants

We may familiar with elephants in our state. Especially in temple festivals. They seem, calm and innocent while performing temple rituals. We may also familiar with elephants in jungle, the wild elephants. Have your even thought that, how the aggressive wild elephants turns to the obeying domestic elephant that we used to see in temple festivals? If not, let’s head on to Kodanad, the popular anakkalari (Elephant Sanctuary) in Kerala. It narrates the journey of a wild elephant to a domestic one.

Journeys are always a spirit, especially, those adventurous journeys to explore something special. That is why, when I got a chance, i peeped in to the forest area of Kodanad to see the Kodanad Anakkalari. I can’t the specialities of this tourist destination in a word or two, when we visits this place, we will become speechless, and instead of our tongue the sights here will begin to speech.

Kodanad Elephant Sanctuary alias Kodanad Aanakkalari, is situated in the district of Ernakulum, near Perumbavoor, a rural riverside village. This is place is a popular picnic place for both domestic and foreign tourists. The most vital speciality of Kodanad is that, it is the only elephant rescue and training center in Kerala specialized for rescuing and training. It trains both adult and baby elephants from the forest regions of Kerala. Kodanad is in the list of Ecotourism destination projects supported by the Government of India.

The picturesque view of this place alone is sufficient to attract tourists to this place. The elephant sanatorium is situated on the south bank of Periyar River. This place is about 42 kilometres east of Kochi city. Being away from the populated air of city life, Kodanad gives the tourists a healthy breath.

When we reach Kodanad, we can see many walkways alongside the river which offers unique experience to the visitors. This is the only Elephant rescue and care centre for central and southern forest region of Kerala. Even though, it is an Elephant training centre, don’t think there is nothing else to see. Kodanad is such an awesome place, where tourists can also enjoy the lovely jungle, elephant rescue centre, near by zoo and its access via river boats to the seasonal pilgrimage centre of Malayattoor. This place is also known for the best suited location for various films.

The history of Kodanad Aanakkalari

The Kodanad Aanakkalari is one of the oldest initiative to train wild elephants. It was started in the year 1950-60s. Initially, it was used as the elephant training centre for captured Elephants from the adjoining forest regions. Elephant capturing were very common and aggressive in that time. Kodanad Aanakkalari have well trained Mahouts, to train the wild elephants. The Mahouts are locally called Paappan. There we can see onnan paappan and randam paappan, onnam paappan is the chief mahout responsible of training the elephant, where as the randam paappan look after the food and other needs of the elephants.

The act of elephant capturing banned in Kerala in the year 1970. Since that, Kodanad is treated as the elephant Sanctuary rather than a elephant training institute. There are about 40 plus elephants in the Kodanad elephant sanctuary. But at a time, we can have nearly 10.

A day with elephants

The pleasure of being in Kodanad, is spending a day with elephants. The day starts with early morning activities. Each tourists can accompany the elephant to bathing, playing etc.. There are separate timing for each elephants for bath, food, play etc...

The morning activity starts with elephant bath. The elephants used to take bath in the periyar river. Tourists get a chance here to experience hands-on bathe and massage of adult and baby elephants under the supervision of its Mahouts. Differ from massaging a human, massage of elephants are normally done with small flat rocks, and husk of coconuts. The elephant bath is a 1-2 hour process and if lucky, we will also get a chance to bath with the elephants as they pour water on the visitors.

Elephant safari

The elephant sanctuary also offers the viewers’ a safari on elephants through the jungle. At the park, the old ‘Kraal’ is maintained to house elephants, which is a structure made of wood. And it can accommodate up to 4 elephants. People love to make this travel and it is one of the main activities here.

Elephant Feeding

Feeding the elephants is the another pastime activity of Kodanad. Visitors here are allowed to feed the elephants with natural foods like coconut tree leaves, palm tree leaves etc.. Visitors to Kodanad Elephant sanctuary can watch feeding of elephants as nearly 80% of an elephant’s day is spent on feeding. It is so interesting to watch elephants feeding themselves in their natural environment

Watching the baby elephants

The baby elephants rescued from the forest gets trained here and special care is given to these isolated babies. It is really an unforgettable scene , watching them playing. At least four to six baby elephants are brought in and prepared every year to be a friendly elephant. The training session for baby elephants is seems lovely. The facility to watch this is closed on Monday’s for tourists. The baby elephants at Kodanad are owned and taken care by the Department of Forest. We can also see a small zoo here , which protecs other wild animals.

Other tourists attractions in Kodanad

  • Paniyeli Poru (10 kms)

  • Munnar (105 km)

  • Thattekkade bird sanctuary (28 km)

  • Bhoothathankettu dam (23 km)

  • Malayattoor Christian Pilgrim Center (across the river)

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