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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ELEPHANTS OF KERALA, INDIA - KONNI ELEPHANT TRAINING CENTER


The Konni Elephant Training Center
Konni has a major elephant training center, located 11 km from Pathanamthitta. The prime attraction here are the huge cages of wood built to house elephants. Konni, rich in cash crops is extremely popular for its elephants and 'aanakoodu'. Built in 1941, the Elephant Training Center or aanakoodu, facilitates elephant viewing, elephant feeding, elephant ride etc. An Elephant Museum, planned to be developed as a complete natural history museum based on elephants, has been set up here.





The Elephant Camp at Konni serves as a hub for forest-based ecotourism activities and various other locations in the forest too have been developed as camp sites, which can be accessed through trekking. Visitors going on treks will be assisted by trained guides.These cages are locally known as Aanakoodu and can accommodate 3 to 4 elephants at a time. The trainers here train the baby elephants which get separated from their herd, or are found wounded or roaming in the forest. Experienced trainers using their systematic training methods, tame the baby elephants. Visitors can get a close look at these elephants and can observe and understand a lot about their behaviour, especially that of baby elephants, which are often endearingly mischievous.Konni is famous for the elephant training centre since ancient times. The elephants were captured from the dense forests of the western ghats/Sahyadri and brought to the elephant training cage at Konni. There these wild elephants are tamed and trained by mahouts specialized as elephant tainers. These trainers take the help of other tamed elephants.The elephant capturing at Konni traces back to 1810 AD. The major elephant capturing locations include Mundom moozhy, Mannarappara and Thura. The elephant training cage which is present now was built in 1942. The wood of "Kambakam" was used for this.










The present training cage has the capacity to train 6 elephants. The dimensions of the training cage are 12.65×8.60×7 metres. The elephant training cage and its premises comprises 9 acres (36,000 m2) of land.The elephant capturing was officially stopped in 1977 by Govt: Circular though it was actually stopped many years prior to that.Presently the elephant training cage is a major tourist attraction. It houses a history museum as well. The elephant training centre functions as an elephant welfare centre. The elephant calves estranged from the herd and found lost in the forest are brought here and are provided with medical facilities and proper care.The details of Konni Elephant Training Centre and Training Cage are mentioned in the articles of the famous "Aithihyamaala" by Shri Kottarathil Shankunni. "Aithihyamaala" is referred as one of rare collection of articles of Kerala History.Konni Elephant Training Centre has to its credit of gifting the Elephant "Samyuktha" to the Republic of Portugal as a mark of friendship and co-operation with the Republic of India.Elephant safaris are available at this place along with adventurous trekking programs. Konni has the largest wild elephant population in Kerala.

Konni is on the Main Eastern Highway (Punalur-Pathanamthitta-Muvattupuzha Highway/SH-08) and is very well connected to major towns and cities of Kerala through Pathanamthitta.
The tamed elephants famous for rendering help to the trainers of the wild ones are;
Konniyil Kochchayyappan
Ranji Padmanabhan
Balakrishnan
Soman
Venu
Rameshan
Mani
The present members of Konni elephant training center are
Soman
Priyadarshini
Meena
Surendran
Eva (Eva is the youngest member who is only 7 years old)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konni,_India


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