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Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary

Discussion in 'Wildlife and National Parks' started by UVRay, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. UVRay

    UVRay New Member

    I am interested in going to the Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary but would like to know some more about the sanctuary.

    I know that we would be able to see elephants there, but are there any other animals to see as well?

    Is there anything else to see around the sanctuary?

    How much time is required to see the sanctuary?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello there, welcome to the forum!

    The Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary is also known as Anakkotta, which means Elephant Fort. The location, Punathur Kotta, was formerly a palace and a fort of a local ruler. It has been converted into an elephant sanctuary by the management of the Guruvayoor Temple. The sanctuary is home to about 59 elephants right now. For a time, about 86 elephants used to reside here. These elephants are given to the temple as offerings to the Lord Guruvayurappan by the devotees.

    Aside for caring for them, these elephants are also trained to participate in events and festivals. Such rituals like Gajapooja (Worshipping Elephants) and Anayoottu (Feeding Elephants) are done here, which are dedicated to Lord Ganesha. During normal days, you can still watch the elephants grazing on the fields nearby. If you're lucky, you might be able to watch the elephants taking a bath which is quite fascinating to watch.

    Ramachandran is the oldest elephant here, who is about 82 years old already. Another famous elephant from the sanctuary is Gajarajan Guruvayur Kesavan, who was donated by the Nilambur Royal Family to the temple in the year 1916. Kesavan died in the year 1976 at the age of 72 and since then, the elephant has received the title Gajarajan or Elephant King. His death is remembered even up to this day. His tusks were saved and displayed in the main temple. He also has a life size statue and portraits within the temple.

    You would only be able to see elephants of different sizes here. You won't be able to find other species of animals. They mainly take care of elephants given to them by devotees.

    There are several other attractions within the sanctuary:
    • Naala Kettu - This is a 500-year old traditional rectangular home with a courtyard in the middle. It once belonged to the Punnathur Raja. Its four sides are named according to their positions in the building. The eastern side is called Kizhakkini, the western side is known as Padinjattini, the southern side is known as the Thekkini and the northern side is known as the Vadakkini. Currently, it's a training school for papans or mahouts, which are caretakers of the elephants.
    • Temple - There's also a temple within the sanctuary dedicated to Lord Shiva and Bhagavathy.
    Other attractions are in Guruvayoor which is about two kms away from the sanctuary:
    • Guruvayoor Temple - This is also known as Bhuloka Vaikunta, which means the Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth. It's temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, the avatar of Lord Vishnu. According to legends, the temple is already 5,000 years old. References to a place called Kuruvayur are known even during the 16th century. But the earliest temple records can be traced back to the 17th century. The central shine seen today is believed to have beeb built during the 1638 AD. Lord Krisha is known as Sri Guruvayoorappan locally, which means God of Guruvayoor. The story goes that when Lord Brahma requested to Vishnu for salvation for him and his creations, the Lord complied by giving him an idol which was made of himself and by himself. The idol was then given to Sutapass and his wife Prasni, who were worshipping Lord Vishnu for a son. The Lord then appeared before them and announced that Prasni would give birth to the Lord Vishnu himself four times and each time, the idol they worshipped would appear with the birth. So then Prasni gave birth to four sons: Prasnigarbha, Vamana, Rama and Krishna. These births occurred in their different lifetimes and each time, with an idol of Lord Vishnu appeared. Later, Lord Krishna took the idol himself and brought it to Dwaraka. The Lord then told his friend Uddhava that Dwaraka would be submerged in water and the idol should be given to Brihaspati and Vayu. They found a beautiful lake and found it worthy for consecrating the idol there. Since it was Guru and Vayu who consecrated the idol of Lord Vishnu there, the place came to be known as Guruvayoor and the idol came to be known as Guruvayoorappan.
    • Mammiyoor Mahadeva Temple - As part of the ritual, every devotee going to the Guruvayoor Temple must also go to the Mammiyoor Mahadeva Temple. This is among one of the five Shiva temples in Guruvayoor. The main deity is Lord Shiva although there's also a shrine for Lord Vishnu here. Other deities that you can worship here are Lord Ganesha, Goddess Parvati, Subrahmanya and Ayyappa. Also, only Hindus are allowed inside the temple premises.
    • Naranayamkulangara Temple - This temple is dedicated to the Goddess Narayani or Goddess Vishnumaya. Goddess Narayani is famous for bestowing salvation upon men. It is best visited during the 10th of the Malayalam month of Makaram at the end of January for the annual temple festival.
    • Chamundeswari Temple - This is also known as the Thozhuvancode Shree Chamundi Devi Temple. It is a temple dedicated to Chamundeswari Devi, a revered form of Goddess Durga. The idol of Chamundeswari Devi here is made of five metals, namely: gold, lead, copper, iron and silver. There are also other shrines dedicated to other Lords and Goddesses in the temple like Ananta, Karinkali Devi, Mohini Yakshi, Thamburan, Ganesha, Durga and the Navagrahas.
    • Chowalloor Siva Temple - This is about 3 kms away from Guruvayoor Temple. It's a 1,000 year old temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. You can worship the entire family of Shiva here: Sree Parvathy, Sree Ganesh, Sree Subrahmanian (Murukan), Sree Ayyappa and Sree Anjaneya. The sanctum sanctorum houses the idol of Lord Shiva which faces West and his consort, Goddess Parvati which faces East. These positions are believed to shower devotees with blessings from all directions.
    • Chavakkad Beach - This is about 5 kms from the Guruvayoor Temple. The river meets the beach here, which is also known as estuary. This confluence is known as Azhimokam locally. There are plenty of beach shacks offering delectable food around the beach. It's also a relatively unexplored beach and it is not that commercialised. The water and shores are clean as well and kids can enjoy swimming and building sand castles in the sand.
    You can allot half a day or less for the sanctuary. This way, you can watch all their activities like bathing, feeding and training. Then, the remaining time can be spent visiting the other places I have mentioned.

    I hope this helps.:)