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പുന്നത്തൂര്‍ കോട്ട
Place of interest
Punathur Palace
Punathur Palace
Punnathurkotta is located in Kerala
Location in Kerala, India
Coordinates: 10°36′51″N 76°1′47″E / 10.61417°N 76.02972°E / 10.61417; 76.02972Coordinates: 10°36′51″N 76°1′47″E / 10.61417°N 76.02972°E / 10.61417; 76.02972
Country  India
State Kerala
District Thrissur
 • Official Malayalam, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Telephone code 91487
Vehicle registration KL-08
Nearest city Guruvayur

Punnathurkotta is a fort and former palace located in Kottapadi, about 2 km from the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple, in Thrissur District of Kerala State in South India.[1]


Punnathurkotta was once the palace of a local ruler, but the palace grounds are now used to house the elephants belonging to the Guruvayoor temple, and has been renamed Anakkotta (meaning "Elephant Fort"). There were 86 elephants housed there, but currently there are about 59 elephants. The elephants are ritual offerings made by the devotees of Lord Guruvayurappa. This facility is also used to train the elephants to serve Lord Krishna as well as participate in many festivals that occur throughout the year. The oldest elephant is around 82 years of age and is called 'Ramachandran'. The rituals of Gajapooja (Worshipping Elephants) and Anayoottu (Feeding Elephants) are observed here, as an offering to Lord Ganesha. The legendary elephant "Guruvayur Keshavan" was housed here. The compound also has a naalu kettu, a traditional rectangular home with a central courtyard, which belonged to the Punnathur Raja. It is poorly maintained and presently houses a training school for Papans (Mahout). This complex also contains a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Bhagavathy. Some scenes in the famous Malayalam movie "Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha" (starring Mammooty) were filmed at this location. The visiting hours are 8.00 AM to 6.00 PM. The entry fee is Rs 10 per adult. An extra Rs 25 is charged for to use a camera inside the complex.

Panoramic view of the kotta.
Punnathur Kotta

Elephant Camp at Punnathurkotta[edit]

The Elephant Camp is located in Punnathur Kotta, at a distance of 3 km from the Guruvayur Temple. This Elephant Camp houses 58 elephants in 11.5 acres of land and is famous for housing the largest numbers of elephants in the smallest acreage of land. ( As per the regulations of the Central Zoo Authority of India, one elephant in captivity must have a minimum of 1.25 acres of land as holding area). The fascinating feature is that all the elephants are 'offerings' that are made (donated) by the devotees, to the temple. The camp also acts as a training school for the elephants. All the bull (male) elephants here are trained to participate in major processions and daily temple rituals. This camp is visited by several tourists every year.[2] There are many instances of elephants running amok, getting beaten by the mahouts, suffering grievous injuries and becoming handicapped at this facility. All the elephants, barring a few, earn a sizable revenue for the temple since they are hired out and forced to participate in temple festivals from October to April every year. .

Animal welfare[edit]

Animal welfare at this elephant sanctuary has come into question due to several videos being posted online of elephants displaying stereotypic behavior, being chained by the ankle and one obviously being beaten.[according to whom?] Following these allegations in the media and after receiving a lot of complaints, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) commissioned an inspection of the animals housed in the premises and its facilities. The Commission submitted its report in September 2014.

Elephants chained at punnathor kotta
Elephants chained to concrete posts

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Indian Columbus. "Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary - Guruvayur, Kerala, India". Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Thrissur Kerala. "Punnathur Kotta". Retrieved 19 July 2012.