Punnathur Kotta, also known as Anakkotta, is a fort and former palace located in Kottapadi, about 2 kilometers from the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple in Thrissur District of Kerala State in South India. It was once the palace of a local ruler, but the palace grounds are now used to house the elephants belonging to the Guruvayoor temple.
The fort was built in the 17th century by the Punnathur Rajas, a local dynasty. The Punnathur Rajas were vassals of the Zamorins of Calicut, and the fort was built to protect them from their enemies. The fort was also used as a hunting lodge by the Punnathur Rajas.
After the demise of the last Punnathur Raja in 1790, the fort was taken over by the Guruvayoor Devaswom, the management board of the Guruvayoor temple. The Devaswom used the fort to house the elephants that were donated to the temple by devotees. The elephants were used for religious processions and other ceremonies.
In the early 20th century, the fort was renovated and expanded to accommodate the growing number of elephants. The fort now houses about 59 elephants, making it the largest elephant sanctuary in Kerala. The elephants are well-cared for and are trained to participate in religious ceremonies and other events.
Punnathur Kotta is a popular tourist destination. Visitors can watch the elephants being bathed and trained, and they can also feed the elephants. The fort is also home to a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Bhagavathy.
Here are some interesting facts about Punnathur Kotta:
- The fort is surrounded by a moat that is 10 feet deep and 30 feet wide.
- The fort has four gates, each of which is guarded by a large stone elephant.
- The fort has a central courtyard that is used for religious ceremonies and other events.
- The fort also houses a training school for mahouts, the people who care for and train the elephants.
- Punnathur Kotta is a popular tourist destination, and it is estimated that over 1 million people visit the fort each year.