Punnathur Kotta: A Unique Elephant Sanctuary in Thrissur

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If you’re looking for a place to witness majestic elephants in their natural habitat, then Punnathur Kotta in Thrissur, Kerala, is the perfect destination for you. This sanctuary houses more than 50 elephants and provides a unique opportunity to interact with them. In this article, we will explore Punnathur Kotta’s history, its significance in Indian culture, and the various activities you can do there.

History of Punnathur Kotta

Punnathur Kotta was once the palace of the Punnathur Raja, a local ruler who was a close confidante of the Cochin royal family. In the early 20th century, the palace was donated to the Guruvayur temple, which is known for its association with Lord Krishna. The temple authorities converted the palace into an elephant sanctuary, and today it serves as a rehabilitation center for captive elephants.

Significance in Indian Culture

Elephants have played a crucial role in Indian culture for centuries. They have been used in religious ceremonies, processions, and even in warfare. In Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, is one of the most worshipped deities. In Kerala, elephants are an integral part of the annual temple festivals, and Punnathur Kotta plays a significant role in this.

Activities at Punnathur Kotta

Punnathur Kotta offers a wide range of activities for visitors, including elephant rides, feeding, and grooming. You can watch the elephants bathe in the nearby river or simply observe them in their natural habitat. The sanctuary also hosts a daily feeding program, where visitors can watch the elephants being fed by their mahouts.

Conservation Efforts

Punnathur Kotta is committed to the conservation of elephants and their habitat. The sanctuary provides a safe haven for captive elephants, and the mahouts take great care to ensure their well-being. The sanctuary also works with local communities to raise awareness about the importance of elephant conservation and the need to protect their natural habitat.

Getting There

Punnathur Kotta is located about 3 km from the Guruvayur temple in Thrissur. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is about 80 km away. Taxis and buses are available from Thrissur to Punnathur Kotta.


Punnathur Kotta is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in elephants or Indian culture. With its rich history, cultural significance, and conservation efforts, it provides a unique and enriching experience for visitors. So, the next time you’re in Thrissur, make sure to add Punnathur Kotta to your itinerary.


  1. Is it safe to interact with the elephants at Punnathur Kotta?

Yes, it is safe to interact with the elephants at Punnathur Kotta. The mahouts take great care to ensure the safety of both the elephants and the visitors.

  1. What is the best time to visit Punnathur Kotta?

The best time to visit Punnathur Kotta is between October and March when the weather is pleasant.

  1. How much time do I need to explore Punnathur Kotta?

You can explore Punnathur Kotta in about 2-3 hours, depending on your interests.

  1. Can I take photographs at Punnathur Kotta?

Yes, you can take photographs at Punnathur Kotta. However, it is important to follow the guidelines and not disturb the elephants.

  1. Are there any accommodations near Punnathur Kotta?

Yes, there are several accommodations available near Punnathur Kotta, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts. Some popular options include the Kanoos Residency, The Raviz Resort & Spa Kadavu, and the Lulu International Convention Center & Garden Hotel.

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Upendra Yadav is a seasoned Data Analyst with a passion for exploring new places and immersing himself in different cultures. With a curious mind and an eye for detail, Upendra delves deep into the history, people, and cuisine of the places he visits, and brings his experiences to life through his writing.. His work has been featured in various travel blogs, where he shares his insights and recommendations for fellow explorers. Through his writing, Upendra aims to inspire others to venture beyond their comfort zones and discover the hidden gems of the world. When he's not analyzing data or traveling to new destinations, Upendra can be found indulging in his other hobbies, such as photography and trying out new recipes. He is currently working on his next travelogue, where he hopes to take his readers on a journey to even more exciting and lesser-known destinations.