6 Places you should visit in Kerala to see Elephants

Thekkady Wildlife Safari

Kerala, known as “God’s Own Country“, is not only revered for its tranquil backwaters and verdant landscapes but also as an oasis for wildlife enthusiasts. Kerala boasts an impressive variety of animal species – especially its famous elephant population – which are plentiful here; one such symbol being that elephants attract many tourists from around the globe who visit its wildlife sanctuaries to spot these stunning beasts!

Thekkady: Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Elephant safari in Thekkady

One of the most celebrated wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Thekkady, stands amidst the enchanting Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats. Elevated between 900m and 1800m, the sanctuary is a biodiversity hotspot, offering a home to a wide array of fauna, including the Asian elephant.

Best Time to Visit: The optimal period to explore this sanctuary is during the dry season, from December to April. This season offers higher chances of animal sightings as many species, especially elephants, converge around the lake to quench their thirst. For an unparalleled adventure, embark on a guided trek through the dense forest, which not only promises an up-close view of these gentle giants but also an immersive experience in the heart of nature.

Munnar: Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Surroundings

Munnar Elephants

Nestled on the border of Tamil Nadu, just 60 kilometers away from Munnar, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary offers a serene retreat away from the more frequented paths of Periyar. This sanctuary stands as a testament to the diverse ecosystem of the region, providing a sanctuary for a wide range of wildlife, including the majestic elephants.

Trekking with a Purpose

Exploration here is best done through treks arranged by the Forest Center, where local guides lead visitors through the sanctuary’s rugged terrain, offering chances to spot elephants in their natural habitat. These treks are not only about elephant spotting but also about understanding the ecological significance of the region. Bird watchers, in particular, will find Chinnar to be a paradise, with numerous endemic and migratory species flitting through its canopy.

Beyond the Sanctuary

Munnar itself is surrounded by spots like Mankulam, Mattupetty, and Chinnar, which are renowned for elephant sightings. These areas, known for their breathtaking beauty, offer visitors the chance to witness herds of elephants grazing or traversing the meadows in the lower plains, a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Guruvayoor: Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary

Just 3 kilometers away from the pilgrim town of Guruvayoor, Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary serves a unique purpose. Known for its Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor attracts not just devotees but also wildlife enthusiasts. The sanctuary is home to elephants that participate in the temple’s rituals and processions, offering a glimpse into the cultural fabric of Kerala where elephants are revered and celebrated.

Festival Highlight

Even if your visit does not coincide with Guruvayoor’s grand festivals, the sanctuary provides an opportunity to learn about the elephants’ role in Kerala’s traditions and to witness the care and training these magnificent creatures receive.

Kodanad: Elephant Training Centre

A short drive from Cochin takes you to Kodanad Elephant Training Centre, a sanctuary for elephants rescued from various predicaments. Visiting Kodanad is not just about seeing elephants; it’s about engaging with them. Activities like helping to wash the elephants or taking an elephant ride offer unique interactions that are both memorable and enlightening.

Ideal Day Trip

Arriving early at Kodanad is recommended to fully experience what the center has to offer. For those traveling from Cochin to Munnar, Kodanad makes for an excellent stop, providing a refreshing break filled with captivating encounters.

Thrissur: Temple Elephants and Festivals

Thrissur, often hailed as Kerala’s cultural capital, has a deep-seated connection with elephants, woven into the fabric of its religious and social life. The elephants here are not just animals; they are an integral part of temple rituals and festivals, symbolizing prosperity and fortune.

Thrissur Puram: A Spectacular Showcase

festivals of kerala

The annual Thrissur Puram festival, celebrated in May, is a feast for the senses with its vibrant processions, traditional music, and the caparisoned elephants that lead the festivities. This event, drawing visitors from all corners of the globe, showcases the elephants in all their majesty, adorned in ornate headdresses and nettipattam (golden caparisons), making it a must-see for anyone visiting Kerala in the spring.

Wayanad: A Quiet Haven for Wildlife

In the tranquil expanse of Wayanad, nature lovers can find a peaceful retreat away from the more tourist-trodden paths of Munnar and Thekkady. Home to the Tholpetty and Muthanga wildlife sanctuaries, Wayanad offers a chance to see elephants roaming freely in their natural habitat, alongside other wildlife like bison, deer, monkeys, and boars.

Wildlife Sanctuaries: Tholpetty and Muthanga

Wayanad Tour

These sanctuaries are part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, offering guided safaris that provide visitors with the opportunity to observe and appreciate the rich biodiversity of the region. The dense forests, interspersed with bamboo groves and marshy lands, provide the perfect backdrop for elephant sightings, making Wayanad a cherished destination for those seeking tranquility and a connection with nature.

Kerala, with its verdant landscapes and cultural richness, offers unparalleled opportunities to witness the majestic Asian elephant in its natural and cultural settings. From the dense forests of Thekkady and Munnar to the sacred grounds of Guruvayoor and the cultural festivities of Thrissur, each destination provides a unique window into the life of these magnificent creatures.

KeralaTaxis stands ready to enhance your journey, offering reliable transportation services tailored to your exploratory needs. Whether you’re planning to traverse the rugged terrains of Chinnar or immerse yourself in the festivities of Thrissur Puram, our knowledgeable drivers and comfortable vehicles ensure that your adventure is seamless and memorable.

Start a journey through Kerala’s elephant trails with KeralaTaxis. Contact us today to plan your itinerary and make your visit to these incredible sanctuaries comfortable and unforgettable. Let us be part of your story as you explore the beauty and majesty of Kerala’s elephants.