Kodanad elephant training centre and eco-tourism park

Kodanad elephant Kraal has lost its glory but if you live nearby or want to spend sometime in the shores of Periyar river, this is a good picnic destination near Kochi. Read more about the elephant training centre and elephant safari at Kodanad.

NOTE: Kodanad elephant training centre is permanently closed as of January 2016. All animals are moved to Abhayaranyam.

I've been a regular visitor to Kodanad elephant training centre during my childhood. This place was just a swim away for me since it was on the other side of the river where I grew up. I was born and brought up at Malayattoor, a beautiful village in the banks of Periyar river. Kodanad is on the other side of the river and there was no bridge connecting both the villages. Even though there was a country boat doing ferry services, not many people had to go to the other side of the river since both villages were pretty disconnected from each other.

During our childhood, we all used to go to the river everyday to bath, swim and have fun. On week-ends, we would spend hours exploring the river and visiting the elephant training centre in Kodanad was part of fun. Depending on the water level in the river, sometimes we can just walk through the shallow waters and sometimes swim a little bit to reach the other side and enter into the elephant kraal.

During our childhood, there was no admission tickets to enter the training centre. Moreover, it was just an elephant training centre and not a tourist destination at all. I don't think any wild grownup elephants were actually trained here in last 25-30 years, even though once in a while they get some baby elephants and kept there until they were moved elsewhere or released back to the forest. They always had several domesticated elephants there and it was fun to watch them bathing in the river.

In last one or two decades, the Kerala Tourism Department and the Forest department gave a lot of promotion to the elephant training centre and tourists started arriving to watch how the elephants are trained. They eventually built a mini zoo with hundreds of spotted ders, Sambar deers, monkeys, snakes and many other animals and birds. It got a pretty significant place in the Kerala tourism map.

What to see in Kodanad

Kodanad has lost its glory as a tourist destination since the mini zoo is closed, elephant training is stopped and the place is about to be closed permanently as a tourist destination.

All the Spotted deers and Sambar deers are moved to a new home called Abhayarayam at Kaprikkad, which is about 2 km from Kodanad. Abhayaranyam is a large protected area of forest spread across of hundreds of acres and they are building a new open zoo which will allow the animals to roam around freely. All other animals and birds are moved elsewhere.

Currently, there is no elephant training going on in Kodanad. Catching elephants from the wild is no longer allowed and the only time you will see a new elephant at this place is, when they get an injured or abandoned baby elephant from the forests.

Currently (April 2015), there are 6 elephants at Kodanand. 3 of them are small and young elephants but not really baby elephants running and playing everywhere.

They have a mini eco-park where you can enjoy and relax sometime in the banks of Periyar river. During my childhood, there were lot of bamboos there and we all used to play around those bamboos. Most of them are gone now but if you are a nature lover, you will still see some a lot of greenery to enjoy here.

There is a play area for kids with some typical outdoor play equipments. They are no different from what you see in other parks but kids would enjoy playing while parents can relax in the park.

Entry fees

The entry fees at Kodanad elephant training centre is as follows:

Adults - Rs 10
Children up to 12 years - Rs 5
Foreigners - Rs 25.
Parking fees - Rs 5 for two and three wheelers
Rs 10 for cars and jeeps.

There is an Rs 25 fee for using still cameras in the park.

Elephant safari at Kodanad

Forest department started elephant safari for the tourists a few years ago. It was one of the big attractions for the tourists since elephant safari is not very common. However, the elephant safari is also closed now as part of moving the animals to Kaprikkadu.

Attention visitors: Kodanad is no longer an interesting tourist destination since all animals are moved and no elephant training is happening there. But if you just want to spend sometime with the nature near the banks of Periyar, this is a good pace to spend a few hours. Many travel websites still have the outdated information.

How to reach

Kodanad is in Ernakulam district of Kerala. The nearest towns are Kalady, Perumbavoor and Aluva.

Drive: If you are coming from Thrissur, come through Angamaly and Kalady. Then drive to Malayattor and then go through the newly opened Malayattoor - Kodanad bridge. Kodanad elephant training centre is about 2 km drive from Malayattoor.

If you are coming from Munnar, Kothamangalam area, you can turn to Kodanad at Kuruppampady.

If you are coming from Aluva or Ernakulam, you can reach Perumbavoor and then drive to Kuruppampady and Kodanad.

Also see: Paniyeli Poru - an unspoiled eco tourist destination near to Kodanad

Bus: Kodanad is a crowded residential village and there are lot of buses plying from Kalady and Perumbavoor. There is one bus from Malayattoor as well.

Airport: The nearest airport is Kochi International Airport. There are no direct buses from the Airport to this place. If you are coming by flight, your best option to reach Kodanad will be to take a cab. (Consider using Uber cab services, they are cheap and reliable).

Train: The nearest railway station is Angamaly. Many trains do not stop at Angamaly, so Aluva would be an alternative. From the railway station, you may take a bus to Perumbavoor or Kalady and get a connecting bus from there. Alternatively, you could book Uber or Ola cab from the railway station.

Where to stay

This is a typical village and not a crowded tourist destination. You won't find many options for accommodation here.

Elephant Pass Resort: This is a new resort, located adjacent to the elephant training centre. Even though the main entrance of the resort is about 1 km before reaching this destination, the backside of the resort opens to the rear area of the park. You can easily walk into this area from the resort. I personally visited the resort and I would say it has an excellent view. The resort is on the banks of the river and has an excellent view of the river and mountains from all the rooms. They have a very well maintained garden, lawn and sitting area along the bank of the river.

Hotel Malayattor Residency: Malayattoor Residency is located at Malayattoor, on the other side of the river. You will need to drive about 3 km to reach this hotel, which has an attached Beer-Vine parlour. This is a typical hotel located in Malayatoor village on the way to Malayattoor - Kurisumudy mountain.

See also: Bharanikuzhi waterfalls at Malayattoor forests

Pilgrim Centre, Malayattoor: This is a budget accommodation provided by Malayattoor church for the pilgrims. If you are on a tight budget, this place may be suitable for you. During the busy festival season (April/May), you may not get any rooms here but all other times, this place would be pretty much empty. The advantages are it is very cheap, dormitory kind of accommodation adjacent to St Thomas Church Malayattoor, on the banks of periyar river. This is about 2 km from Kodanad.

Photos of Kodanad Elephant Training Centre

Related Articles

Abhayaranyam mini zoo and eco-tourism project, Kaprikkad

Abhayaranyam is an upcoming project in Kaprikkad village, Ernakulam district of Kerala. Hundreds of deers are kept here and visitors can enjoy the animals roaming around in a natural forest area, with proper fencing for safety of animals and visitors. Read more about the wild life safari and mini zoo at Kaprikkad, near Kodanad.

More articles: Kodanad Elephant Training Centre


Guest Author: Vinayak Iyer03 Jun 2016

Nothing much to see in Kodanad now except for the Periyar river and Paniyeli Poru. I know about Kaprikkad. But, Konni Elephant Kraal offers much more and is close to Thenmala and other tourist places.

But, is there any other places near Kochi with wildlife in abundance?

Guest Author: Anant Trivedi09 Jun 2016

We are asked to visit another place since there is nothing much to see there. Yes, we visited Kaprikkad Kraal which looks like a make shift arrangement. Later, we are told had we wanted to take Elephant safari, we must've visited Konni Elephant centre in the south Kerla.
The article could be very useful to tourists who may not be aware of the shifting of the sanctuary from Kodanad to Kaprikkad. Any other tourist interests near Kodanad?

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