Punnathur Kotta, Thrissur

Visitor Information

  • Famous For: Elephant sanctuary, Shiva temple, vibrant greenery
  • Entrance Fee: The charges are very nominal for visiting the elephant camp. Entry charges per adult are only Rs. 10. It costs Rs. 25 for using a camera.
  • Visiting Time: The time for visiting the camp is fixed at 0830 – 1800 hours.
  • Visiting Duration: The entire trip dos not take longer than 3-4 hours.

Punnathur Kotta, is a fine example why Kerala is called the “Land of Elephants”. Sprawling over 11.5 acres and surrounded by green foliage, it is a very beautiful place. Its prime attractions are the jumbo elephants; around 60 of them are kept and taken care of here. The playing elephant along with the scenic surrounding paints a very awe-inspiring and magical picture. Seeing the cute little elephants running around and splashing water at each other is a sight you definitely don’t want to miss. The male elephants are trained here for various religious processions that take place throughout the year. You might even get a chance to watch the ginormous bull elephants being trained for their duties.

Punnathur Kotta
Temple, Photo by Ranjithsiji,  CC BY-SA 3.0

Traveler Tips

  • The weather here is usually hot and humid. It is suggested you wear light cotton clothes.
  • There is a lot of walking around here, so come equipped with comfortable shoes.
  • People have religious sentiments attached to the elephants, so it is not a good idea to disrespect them in any way.
  • Elephants are really intelligent animals and do not usually get irritated easily. But never test the patience of an elephant by poking it or making faces, you just might find yourselves backed in a corner.
  • Always stay alert around the jumbos. Follow the cues of the mahout who understands its moods, if you wish to get closer to the elephant.
  • Do not feed the elephants anything. If you really want to then ask the mahout to give you something. The jumbos usually love a treat of bananas and jaggery (unrefined sugar).
  • Remove your footwear before entering a temple, so as to not hurt the feelings of the people.
  • Be aware of your surroundings while taking pictures with your camera.

Things to Do

  • Observe the elephants in their day to day events.
  • Play a little with the baby elephants in the water. Take the opportunity to feed the elephants.
  • Visit the Shiva temple to get their blessings.
  • Store away some wonderful moments with the elephants in your camera.
  • Relish the green beauty of nature in the adjoining areas.

Availability of Guides

The guides are very easily available at the entrance to take you for a trip worth remembering at Punnathur Kotta.

Best Time to Visit

The camp is best to visit between the months of November and March.

How to Reach

It is very easy to reach Punnathur Kotta. It is well connected by road and rail to the major cities. Auto-rickshaws and buses are used for reaching the camp in Thrissur.

Interesting Facts and Trivia about Punnathur Kotta

  • The word Punnathur Kotta roughly translates into “Elephant Fort”. And quite rightly so, owing to it large size and number of elephants.
  • The campus was initially the palace of a local ruler. But later it was converted into an elephant camp. The palace grounds are used for housing the elephants.
  • Every temple celebration is a regal gala affair in Kerala. The elephants being trained here carry the idols of the gods and march in the procession.
  • Many famous rituals like Gajapooja and Anayoottu are conducted with the help of these giant beings.
  • The elephants have to endure a lot of hardships to be ready for the celebrations. Cramped living quarters and hard training are some of the discomforts they have to face. Many restraints have been placed by the government to help the elephants but due to poor implementation the elephants receive the short end of the stick.
  • These elephants nonetheless hold a special place in the hearts of the people because of the prominence of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god. They are revered by the masses.
  • This elephant camp is one of its kinds with around 60 elephants in its campuses.
Punnathur Kotta Thrissur
Photo by Mikko Koponen, CC BY 2.0

Nearby Attractions

Nearby Places to Eat

  • Hotel Bharath
  • C’sons RepEat
  • Lulu
  • Pathans
  • Joy Palace
  • Ayush Veg
  • Teamo Club
  • Ming Palace Chinese Restaurant

Punnathur Kotta is a very interesting and engaging place. You will never realize how each moment just slips by in all that jumbo fun. There is a feeling of contentment in seeing all the elephants splashing around in the water, walking in their sure steps. An elephant commands the respect with its gait. It is an amazing pace to spend some family time, especially the kids who will thoroughly enjoy interacting with the elephants.

So,  the next time you are in Thrissur, definitely include Punnathur Kotta in your itinerary.

About Rohit

An architect by profession, Rohit Agarwal is a curious traveller, seeking out the minutest detail about the places he travels to, and that’s what one will find in his writings. His writings have appeared in various blogs, he’s currently trying to bring forth as many different places a traveller who shares the same level of curiosity like him would like to visit through his writings.

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