Elephant Training Center; Aana Kota

During our Kerala trip, while we were at the Guruvayur temple, to visit the Punnathur Kota or the Aana Kota was on the cards. ‘Aana’ means elephant and ‘Kota’ means fort. Punnathur is the name of the place. This was once the palace of a local ruler, but the palace grounds are now used to house the elephants belonging to the Guruvayur temple, and has been renamed Anakkota.

Elephants are an integral part of the daily life in Kerala. During all my childhood summer vacations, to run into temple elephants was a very common thing. These elephants are loved, revered, groomed and given a prestigious place in the state’s culture. The elephant is also the state animal of Kerala.

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Right at the entrance, were many elephants. This was the first one, we ran into …

When we visited, we were told that there were 65 elephants there. At the AanaKotta, elephants are trained to participate in temple festivals that happen through the year. The legendary elephant “Guruvayur Keshavan” used to be here too.

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

We strolled through the campus, and the kids saw how the elephants were bathed and groomed. In fact, the elephants are given pedicures and manicures of sorts.

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

There is the traditional naalu kettu, a building with a central courtyard inside. This used to belong to the king of Punnathur. It is beautiful; however is poorly maintained. It right now serves as a training school for Mahouts.

The pics below were shot inside the naalu kettu.

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

The kids loved meeting the elephants at such close quarters and the walk in the campus.

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Aana Kota - Chitra Aiyer Photography

10 Responses to “Elephant Training Center; Aana Kota”

  1. Nice shots. This place is near to me. I also take some snaps.
    Link: http://picasaweb.google.com/jidhujose/Punnathurkotta

  2. Nice photolog. I had been there too a year back http://goo.gl/A5MA6

  3. I too visited this during my trip to guruvayoor and found it was badly maintained. instead the gokulam close by which houses the cows were new and extremely clean. I wish they maintained this place very clean. As always, nice clicks.

  4. Oh absolutely gorgeous, Chitra! I love the naalkattu(I assume it means 4 sides) Kerala houses. As you are an architect I am going to bug you to build one :-) so I can come and visit you! I have always wanted an old house, and it is now a joke in my house. Everytime they go past Chennapatna they point to the old houses and say, oh there is Mytri’s future home :).

    How lovely to see the pictures. Maybe one of these days I will have the good fortune to go and see these places. Till then, thank you very much for including us in your trips. We also get to experience Kerala.

  5. they’re bathing elephants with pipe water? no waterbodies like river or lakes nearby?

  6. The 3rd pic from the last is one fantastic shot. Rest are good too. But the 3rd from the last appealed the most, to me. Brilliant work, as usual!

  7. Jidhu, Vijesh, thanks for sharing – glad to see your interest.

    Asha, I didnt find this badly maintained. I thought the naalu kettu could have been preserved well.

    My3, thanks – glad you are experiencing the trips with us.
    I hope you will have your courtyard house one day. :)

    Shrinidhi, I dont think the water is the city’s supply. But that said, I dont know what the source of water is. there isnt a water body near the campus where they can bathe the elephants.

    thanks Kamal.

  8. Nice pictures Chitra! Although I am here in Kerala, I havent had a chance to visit this place. Once when we went to Guruvayoor and later planned a visit, it was raining so badly that we had to cancel! Glad to see good pics of the place!

  9. Awesome fotos and so wonderful to see a cultural tradition being carried on too

  10. i love photography… i took somany but i dint uploaded it anywhere…. i like your passion to take snaaaaps

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