As you enter the gate of Punnathur Kotta a strange organic smell of elephant dung wakes you up. You will remain wonder stuck as you see a lot of uncaparisoned elephants within the limited area.The grey coloured bulky bodies sway,some pick food stuff with its trunks end , some wallowing in mud, some others dust with dirt,others flap their wings , some stretch their body, some others lift the bunch of palm leaf, some grumble and some rumble
still some others nod their head frequently.Mahouts take some of them to pond ..They rub closely their wrinkled grey skin ,the funny thing was that one bulky elephant took water from a tap and quenched the thirst.Elephant shelter hosts around 64 elephants which includes 54 tuskers.Most of them are offered by celebrities.
Punnathur Kotta was earlirly owned by Punnathur Swaroopam .a local Royal clan closely related to Cochin dynasty and the Zamorins.The palace with nearly twenty acres of land was handed over to Guruvayur devaswom in 1975.The historic palace was thus transformed into an elephant shelter or Anakkotta,exclusively meant for the tuskers owned by lord Guruvayurappan.
We are familiar with the term wild life sancturies that proudly highlight the flagship species as elephants.But elephant shelter at Punnathur kotta or Anakkotta is perhaps the only one in this world’.Kotta turns to be a centre of hectic activity by eight in the morning.three mahouts are assigned to take care of charges of one elephant.
At first the mahouts wash and sweep the concrete platforms where the elephant rests.The tuskers are lead to various various ponds situated in the compound to have a detailed bath which takes more than one hour.we feel that the elephants are really funny creatures.
Elephants are fed with special food containing boiled rice mixed with special medicines.their food package is later enriched with palm leaves. Later mahouts supply them palm leaves.
The elephants are fed with 17000 kg of palm leaves 3500 kg of rice per day.some bulky naughties play pranks with materials available at the trunk’s reach.!elephants turn creative when they take baths in open air.they splash water all over the body and sprays water indiscriminately .how funny it is to look at!
There are around 3000 festivals held in Kerala involving the parading of elephants.In most of the festivals at least three elephants are paraded.Elephants are brought to different temples in the nearby temples and paraded.
As we know elephants have a bulky body,large ears along trunk and the most prominent tusks.They have patches of brown hair on the top of head and back.
There are four sub species of Asian elephants,Borneo elephant,Sumatra elephant,the Indian elephant,and the Srilankan elephant.As per the text Mathanka leela,The features of a perfect elephant is listed.
This include Broadened shoulders,honey coloured eyes,fleshy trunk crawling on the earth,symmetric tusks,a total of twenty nails on four legs,proportional height and prestigious look etc .The legendary elephant Guruvayur Kesavan had these ideal characteristics.
The prestigious member of elephant community in Punnathur kotta is Guruvayur Padmanabhan.Youngest member is eight year old Lakshmi Narayanan.Punnathur kotta is three km away from guruvayur.