Tourists can visit the Elephant Camp or sanctuary that is located in Punnathur Kotta, at a distance of 3 km from the Guruvayur Temple. This Elephant Camp is one of its kinds in the world and is considered to be one of the largest elephant sanctuaries. The 10-acre camp was once the property of the Kings of Punnathur and houses some 60 elephants. In 1975, the present property was purchased by the temple authorities and the elephants were moved to the location from Sreevalsam, in a much-publicized procession. The fascinating feature is that all the elephants are offerings that are made by the devotees, at the temple.
The camp also acts as a training school for the elephants. Most of the elephants are trained to participate in major processions and daily temple rituals. The elephants are also trained to carry the idols of Guruvayur in the ‘Shiveli’ procession. For this purpose, the elephants need to participate in an Elephant Race or ‘Anayottam’ in the temple and the winner gets to carry the idol, during the festival. This camp is visited by several people every year, to see the training of the elephants and also, to gain knowledge of being an Elephant rider or ‘Mahavata’. Traditional methods are used to treat the common health problems of the elephants.