Punnathur Kotta, also known as Anakkotta (Elephant Fort), is an elephant sanctuary and a unique attraction located near the Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple in Kerala, India. It is a place where a large number of elephants are housed and cared for, and it is closely associated with the temple’s rituals and festivals.
Key features and information about Punnathur Kotta:
1. Elephant Sanctuary: Punnathur Kotta is essentially an elephant sanctuary and rehabilitation center. It is one of the largest such facilities in the world. The sanctuary is home to several elephants, which are owned by the Guruvayur Devaswom Board and are used for temple processions and ceremonies.
2. Location: Punnathur Kotta is situated about 3 km from the Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple in Kerala’s Thrissur district. It is easily accessible from Guruvayur and is a popular stop for tourists and devotees visiting the area.
3. Elephants: The sanctuary houses around 60 elephants of various ages and sizes. These elephants are typically donated by devotees to the Guruvayur Temple as offerings. They are well cared for and live in spacious enclosures within the sanctuary.
4. Feeding and Care: Visitors to Punnathur Kotta can witness the elephants being fed and taken care of by the mahouts (elephant caretakers). The elephants are fed a diet that includes rice, jaggery, coconut, and other nutritious items.
5. Cultural Significance: Elephants are an integral part of the cultural and religious traditions of Kerala and play a significant role in temple rituals and festivals. They are adorned with elaborate decorations and are paraded during important temple events.
6. Tourist Attraction: Punnathur Kotta has become a popular tourist attraction where visitors can observe and interact with elephants up close. The sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to learn about elephant behavior, their care, and their role in Kerala’s culture.
7. Entry and Visiting Hours: The sanctuary is open to visitors, and there is an entry fee. The visiting hours and other details may vary, so it’s a good idea to check the latest information before planning a visit.
8. Educational Center: Punnathur Kotta also serves as an educational center where visitors can learn about elephant conservation and the efforts being made to protect these majestic creatures.
Punnathur Kotta provides an insight into the cultural and religious significance of elephants in Kerala and their close association with the Guruvayur Temple. It offers a unique opportunity for tourists and devotees to appreciate and learn about these gentle giants in a natural and humane environment.