In Kerala Elephant is a part of everyday life and has been named as state animal. An Elephant is worshiped and used in religious rituals and temple festivals, but also slogs it out in labor camps; it features prominently in Indian history and mythology, but is also an icon of modern India. In order o give elephant conservation the same momentum of national pride that ‘Save the Tiger’ campaigns evoke, the governmentdecided to declare the jumbo as a national heritage animal in 2010. .
Kerala has 700 elephants in captivity. Most of them are tuskers. Unlike the African elephants, Asian elephants have tusks only in male. Each elephant is accompanied by mahouts and the duty of the mahout is to take care about elephants and bath and massage the elephant with rocks and husk of Coconuts. In Monsoon, the elephants undergo Ayurvedic rejuvenation treatments known as SukhaChikiltsa which includes decoction with herbs etc.
Here are some Kerala elephant experiences that you can enjoy during your Kerala visit.
1. Kerala Elephant Festival- Watch Thrissur Pooram
Thrissur is best known for its famous Thrissur Pooram Festival, which is the most enchanting spectacle with decorated elephants with brightly coloured parasols. The pooram festival highlights include among other things a spectacular procession and display of a large number of decorated elephants in Kudamattom, where there is a rhythmic changing of brightly colored large umbrellas on the top of the elephant which is accompanied by fireworks at night. In Trichur alone there are 250 elephants in captivity and they are a part of the day to day life. People of Trichur has a unique tradition of appreciating the beauty of elephants and it is considered prestigious to keep an elephant. Thrissur pooram happens in April- May every Year.
2. Bathe an Elephant in Kodanad
Kodanad is situated on the south bank of river Periyar, which is around 42 KM from Kochi and the Elephant rescue center for central Kerala forest region is located in Kodanad. Bathe and massage of elephants and baby elephants are normally done with small flat rocks, and husk of coconuts like shown in the video below. Early in the morning at the Kodanad riverside, when mahouts bathe elephants, tourists can get a chance to participate and experience hands-on bathe and massage of elephants at Kodanad.
3. Elephant Spotting
. We take you to elephant spotting points as a part of Kerala Tour Packages. There are multiple places in Kerala where elephants are well cared after and we recommen you enjoy a safari only at those places.
4. Visit Guruvayoor temple
Many temples like Guruvayoor temple also keep elephants. Elephants are respected as the form of Ganesh, son of Shiva. On special occasions the elephants are worshipped and fed by devotees to please Ganesh for well being. Most of them are donated by devotees. Guruvayoor temple has 57 elephants. All of them donated by devotees. Ceremonial feeding of 101 elephants takes place in Trichur on 16 / 17th July every year.
5. Watch elephants while riding a boat in Thekkady Lake
. There is an artificial lake formed by a dam across the Periyar river around which sanctuary is located. Watching elephants during the boat ride is the main attraction is a boat trip over this man-made lake of Thekkad. The forest department also arranges rafting trips, hiking with guides and elephant rides inside the sanctuary where entry is controlled with tickets.
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