While the African continent provides great opportunities for us to watch, very often in natural surroundings, all the wonderful wild life with special reference to elephants, the Indian subcontinent, particularly Kerala, can boast of its expertise in domesticating and maintaining these immaculate pachyderms.
Guruvayur, the famous temple town in Kerala in Trichur District has the unique distinction of rearing and maintaining over 65 elephants- of which 58 are tuskers- in the yard at Punnathur Kotta. All these elephants belong to Lord Guruvayurappan-a synonym to Lord Krishna-the presiding deity of the ancient temple in Guruvayur. The temple authorities are responsible for the upkeep of these elephants.
This place , about 3 km away from Guruvayur, is called Punnathur Kotta which used to be the abode of an ancient ruling family. It is spread over 18 acres of land with a few heritage buildings, the maintenance of which need more attention.
No other place in the world offers such viewing of herds of domesticated elephants. We could see elephants of all ages, both tuskers and cows (A female elephant is called a cow) engaged in different activities. Some are seen taken by the mahouts for a walk, some others are getting bathed in a pond and a few could be seen transporting bunches of palm leaves, while some are standing still waving the ears and curiously watching you with its small eyes, probably mulling over those wonderful days in the forest before the captivity.