Kodanad is a very peaceful, pleasant, and beautiful rural-riverside village situated near Perumbavoor on the southern banks of Periyar river in Ernakulam district, Kerala, South India. Kodanad has various walkways alongside its river quite safe for a comfortable elephant safari. Kodanad coordinates 10.18°N 76.51°E and has great weather almost all year round. Kodanad is a very beautiful and delightful tourist destination worth visiting, easily accessible via air, rail, or by road. You might be surprised by some of the unique and fascinating things to explore in this largely undiscovered destination in Kerala.
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Kodanad is widely known for its Elephant training center or Elephant sanctuary which is located at 42km towards the northeast of Kochi. In the 1950-the 60s, Elephants were being captured from adjoining forest such as Malayatoor forest (Malayatoor Is an amalgamation of three Malayalam words; Mala"mountains"-Are"rivers"-Oore"place"). Malayatoor is a meeting places of mountain, river, and land where Elephants were often captured and taken to Kodanad elephant training center for training using mahouts and specially trained people who are also known as "Paapan" in the Malayalam language. Kodanad offers a natural habitat for majestic elephants amid the mountainous forest.
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Kodanad, near Kochi Airport is known for the ‘Elephant Kraal’ and is set on the banks of the Periyar river and is one of the largest elephant training, and rescue centers of Kerala. Earlier elephants captured from the Malayatoor forests (the forests in the east and north of Kodanad) were trained here. In 1977 the elephant capturing came to an end, but the elephant-training center are still in function here.
It also houses baby elephants at their infancy and various stages of growth, at least about four to six infant elephants are brought in yearly for training under the surveillance of the mahouts. In 1970, the ban on Elephant capturing was enforced by the government of India thus, brought an end to elephant capturing. Thereafter, Kodanad primarily became a rescue training center and is still in function to date. Currently, Kodanad is the headquarters of the Malayattor forest division and serves as one of the premier elephant training center in Kerala.
There is a nominal entry fee of Rs.10 for Adults and Rs.5 for children and there are seprate charges for Safari and Cameras
Elephants are considered auspicious animals in Kerala. They are loved, revered, considered part of the culture, and are groomed with utmost care and respect. Any major festival or celebration in Kerala is incomplete without a massive procession of elephants. Early in the morning in the Kodanad training center, one can witness the joyful sight of the baby and adult elephants at the bath and sight of them being fed a mixture of jaggery and banana prepared by the mahouts. One can also take an elephant safari to roam around the area to observe the elephants and enjoy the natural view of the area. If you intend to visit India, ensure the Kodanad elephant training center is included in your itinerary.
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Kodanad is now primarily used as a rescue training center, and houses baby elephants at their infancy and various stages of their growth. Tourists arrive at Kodanad fascinated by baby elephant’s various stages of development at the Care center. Training plays an important role for elephants while their brains develop and they learn vital survival and cultural knowledge. The baby elephants at Kodanad are owned and taken care of by the Forest Department. There is also a mini zoo at Kodanad sheltering wild animals which have become unfit for survival in the forest.
Abhayaranyam is a rehabilitation center for all animals from the Kodanad elephant training center. Abhayaranyam, a haven for animals is situated near Kaprikkad at Kunnathkadu Taluk in Ernakulam district. Abhayarayam spreads over 200acres of the forest area where 100acres are meant for elephants alone while the Kodanad elephant training center covered only an area of 2.5acres along the river Periyar. The number of animals in the elephant training center kept increasing which aroused certain complaints regards animals being tightly packed as a result of insufficient space for animals to roam freely. This brought about a change in location and the existence of the Abhayaranyam(Kodanad) zoo and is a part of the ecotourism project which started its plan in 2010 and was launched on the 18th of February 2011.
Kodanad is well connected with many major cities, therefore, has smooth road connectivity leading to and from Kodanad. The nearest Airport to Kodanad is Cochin International Airport (COK) located at Nedumbassey, approximately 18kms away from Kodanad.
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