Top 6 Best Elephant Camps in India | Elephant Sanctuaries, National Parks & More in 2023

by Avathi Outdoors | Elephant Camps in India

May 21, 2024

Top 6 Best Elephant Camps in India | Elephant Sanctuaries, National Parks & More in 2023

Significance of elephant in the Indian culture and conservation efforts

Elephants in India are considered as the utmost cultural symbol in India. Its undeniable influence is deeply embedded in the country's spiritual and traditional practices, where elephants are considered the very embodiment or manifestation of Lord Ganesha. These magnificent creatures play a pivotal role in religious ceremonies and rituals, particularly within the adorned temples of India. In fact, the esteemed Guruvayoor Temple in Kerala boasts a remarkable collection of over 50 elephants, attesting to their prominence. The presence of temple elephants has become an integral part of the rituals, and no festivity is complete without the enchanting grandeur of an elephant procession. Devotees flock to these temples to seek blessings from these divine beings, firmly believing in their spiritual significance. 

Elephant camps in India play a crucial role in the preservation and protection of these magnificent creatures. Acting as secure sanctuaries, they serve as vibrant hubs for conservation efforts, education, and promoting responsible interactions with elephants. These dedicated camps aim to instil a sense of appreciation for these gentle giants while ensuring their welfare and offering visitors a truly enriching experience. In this blog post, we explore some of India’s Best Elephant Camps and their unique attributes. 

 

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1. Elephant Conservation and Care Center, Uttar Pradesh

Wildlife SOS is at the forefront of protecting India's wild elephant population. The organisation is dedicated to rescuing and treating elephants that have been subjected to abuse in tourism and used for begging purposes. Elephant Conservation and Care Centre is one of their projects, in association with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department, aimed at rehabilitating and supporting elephant conservation.  Their mission is to put an end to the suffering of injured and sick elephants forced to work in unnatural and harmful conditions. This centre is established near Mathura, an hour away from Agra. 

The elephants here are given refreshing daily baths, a healthy, balanced diet and veterinary care as well.  The centre is developed mindful of the elephant’s natural habitat, full of vegetation and plenty of trees. They make sure to nurse them back to health, physically and mentally. The knowledgeable staff will educate you about the history of each elephant, the work that is being done to rehabilitate them and about their natural behaviours. Please note that you will not be able to feed or bathe elephants.

You can easily visit this incredible centre by scheduling an appointment in advance through the official Wildlife SOS website. The available slots for visiting are conveniently offered from 10 AM to 5 PM. To contribute towards their noble cause, there is a reasonable entry fee of Rs. 1500 per person, which acts as a donation directly benefiting Wildlife SOS. It's important to note that due to high demand, time slots may be limited, so be sure to select your preferred slot as soon as possible. Once you're there, be prepared to embark on an unforgettable 3-hour tour of this remarkable sanctuary.

 

2. Sakrebyle Elephant Camp, Karnataka

Sakrebyle Elephant Camp stands out as one of Karnataka's finest elephant camps. Kids and elephant lovers will truly have a memorable time where they can witness the elephants being bathed and fed. The camp is located 14 Km away from Shimoga, along the picturesque banks of Tunga River. Under the expert guidance of the mahouts, you can personally scrub these majestic creatures in the nearby Gajanur Backwaters. It’s a lovely family getaway destination with its stunning river views. After the bathing sessions, you will be allowed to interact with the gentle giants, take pictures and videos and get their blessings as well. It is advisable to reach early to witness the refreshing bathing sessions. 

Jungle Lodges and Resort Sakrebyle offer guests a special stay amidst the forest with spacious and clean cottages. The rooms are fully equipped with the amenities you will need. The hospitality is stupendous and the staff is protective of their guests. Upon arrival, guests can look forward to a delightful lunch before embarking on a guided nature walk with expert naturalists. They will educate you about the flora and fauna of the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary, which is highly regarded by birding enthusiasts. As the evening sets in, a mesmerising bonfire awaits, creating a cosy ambiance for relaxation and socialising. Additionally, a wildlife movie screening is arranged, enhancing the overall JLR experience. The next morning, you go on a brief trek, visit the elephant camp and enjoy a boat ride too. After a nutritious breakfast, you may checkout at 10:30 AM, leaving with cherished memories in the wild.  

The camp entry timings are from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM everyday. The camp entry charge is Rs. 50 per individual. An extra cost of Rs. 100 applies, if you wish to engage in bathing the jumbos. 

 

3. Dubare Elephant Camp, Karnataka 

Dubare offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the mesmerising world of elephants. The camp is located near Coorg and dedicated to conserving majestic elephants. It’s a peaceful retreat to both adults and kids where you experience elephant interaction up close and also witness bathing rituals and feeding them. The camp is open in the mornings and evenings for visitors. To reach the camp, you have to cross the River Kaveri on foot, but there are proper arrangements in place to make the crossing safe and easy. It's a wonderful experience to cross through the flowing water and make your way to the camp. When the water level is high, boats will be available to take you across the river. 

The location of Jungle Lodges and Resorts Dubare is simply breathtaking, providing an exquisite nature retreat. The accommodations are comfortable and well-maintained. The rooms are clean, spacious, and provide all the necessary amenities for a pleasant stay. Choose from the luxurious River View Cottage or the charming Forest View Cottage. The booking comes with an intricately designed one day itinerary that included - ensuring you make the most of your experience. Enjoy delectable meals, refreshing snacks and tea, a thrilling 2-hour Jungle Safari, the incredible chance to bathe and feed elephants, a refreshing nature walk, and a delightful bonfire to end the day. The dedicated staff at the resort provides exceptional hospitality and unparalleled assistance. Each room boasts breathtaking views of the magnificent Dubare Forest, creating an unparalleled scenic experience.

The entry timings are from 9 AM to 11 AM and again in the evening from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM. The camp entry fee is Rs. 100 per head. An additional Rs. 250 applies if you want to bathe the elephants and Rs. 50 for feeding them. The best months to visit are from October to March, when the water level is high as river rafting can also be opted. 

 

4. Naniyala elephant camp, Andhra Pradesh

Head over to the Naniyala Elephant Camp in Kuppam, Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh for an unforgettable experience! This well-maintained camp, overseen by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department, is the ultimate destination for relaxation and fun with your family and kids. Interact with the majestic elephants under the guidance of experienced mahouts, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Make sure to visit the camp early in the morning before 9 AM, as the elephants head into the jungle for grazing and only return after 4:30 PM. If evenings work better for you, plan your trip between 4:30 PM and 6 PM. Entry charges are a reasonable Rs. 30 per person (excluding parking fees). While you're there, take advantage of the nearby eco-park, boasting a diverse range of flora and fauna. Children will love playing and exploring in this natural wonderland. Remember to pack your own food and snacks, as there are no restaurants in the immediate vicinity. This beautiful elephant camp is a sure paradise for elephant enthusiasts and nature lovers alike!

 

5. Theppakadu elephant camp, Tamil Nadu (Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary)

Situated within the enchanting Mudumalai National Park, Theppakadu elephant camp proudly stands as a revered tourist destination. Renowned for its association with the Academy Award-winning documentary 'The Elephant Whisperers,' thi camp has been captivating visitors since its establishment in 1923. It serves as a distinguished hub for their training and rehabilitation. Nestled in the scenic Nilgiri District, the camp spreads its charm across the borders of both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. 

Mahouts are the compassionate caretakers who form an essential bond with their elephants, attending to their emotional needs, indulging them in bathing rituals, ensuring regular meals, and allowing ample time for grazing and resting. Each day begins with a refreshing hour-long bath in the rejuvenating waters of the Moyar River, followed by a nourishing breakfast. The dedicated mahouts follow a carefully curated ration chart, ensuring that their gentle giants receive a well-balanced diet, including nutritious millet balls made with ragi, jaggery, and dried coconut. On special occasions, the adorable elephant calves are even escorted to seek the divine blessings of Lord Ganesha in the temple located within the camp premises.

The camp welcomes visitors from 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM and from 5:30 PM to 6:00 PM, ensuring ample time to witness the magnificent sight of elephants being fed and bathed by the skilled mahouts. The entry fee is Rs. 25 per person.  Additionally, the camp offers exclusive training programs for mahouts and an informative education centre, where you can expand your knowledge about elephants.


 

6. Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary, Kerala

Punnathur Kotta, situated near Guruvayoor temple in the district of Thrissur, Kerala, is an impressive elephant sanctuary. This facility, managed by the esteemed Guruvayur Devasam Board, provides a haven for elephants, offering them nourishment, medical care, and utmost attention. You can witness these majestic creatures being groomed and nourished, while capturing stunning photographs and videos of them. With over 40 elephants in residence, Punnathur Kotta is a paradise for elephant enthusiasts. When you visit early in the morning, experience the sheer joy of watching the majestic jumbos being lovingly bathed by their dedicated mahouts. It's an absolute must-visit destination for creating beautiful memories in the hearts of families and delight children as well. 

Visitors entry fee is Rs. 20 per adult. The parking fee is Rs. 30 and an additional Rs. 25 for mobile photography. The camp opening timings are from 8 AM to 5 PM.

 

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Elephant Camps in India FAQ(s)

Where can i play with elephants in india?

In India, you can have enriching elephant interactions at several elephant camps and sanctuaries that prioritize responsible and ethical experiences. Here are a few popular places where you can enjoy interactions with elephants:

  1. Elephant Nature Park, Jaipur: This park offers a humane and ethical environment for elephants. Visitors can observe and even participate in feeding, bathing, and walking with these gentle giants.

  2. Kaziranga National Park, Assam: While primarily known for its rhinos, Kaziranga also offers elephant safaris, allowing you to explore the park and spot various wildlife from the back of an elephant.

  3. Periyar National Park, Kerala: This park offers boat safaris where you might spot wild elephants along the shores. There are also responsible elephant interactions available nearby.

  4. Dubare Elephant Camp, Karnataka: Here, you can learn about elephant conservation, help with their bathing, and even take a ride through the forests.

  5. Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand: Enjoy elephant safaris to explore the lush landscapes and diverse wildlife in this iconic national park.

  6. Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bangalore: This park offers a unique experience of watching elephants being bathed and fed by their mahouts.

Remember, when choosing a place to interact with elephants, prioritize ethical and responsible encounters that focus on the well-being and conservation of these magnificent creatures. Always opt for venues that promote the animals' natural behavior and contribute to their welfare.

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