The Konni Elephant Reserve in Pathanamthitta opens up a whole new world of the pachyderm for you; the Elephant Art Gallery that traces the beauty and magnificence of elephants through sculptures and paintings, and the newly renovated state-of-the-art museum that offers enriching information about the tusker are being readied at the Konni reserve. The visitors who get to the elephant reserve, which is under the supervision of the Forest Department, can not only see this giant animal but also learn a lot about them.
The Elephant Art Gallery has beautiful graffiti art on its walls that bring to life all the movies and books where elephants play central protagonists. Welcoming you at the façade of the gallery is the baroque elephant structure- Bablu- an installation that unarguably awes its spectators.
Inside the gallery, it’s a celebration of the life of tuskers in all their glory; hundreds of elephant sculptures tom-tom the grandeur of these majestic creatures. These elephants are made out of various medium like coir, glass, wood, marble, copper, steel and iron. A merry caravan of tuskers made in glass; elephants moving on copper wheels; ornate elephants made out of marble and clay; the sculpture of an elephant relaxing against the lovely background of a bird perched on a tree- these are the striking sights that await you in this gallery of wonders. The Forest Department procured these eye-catching sculptures from many different places.
Artists from the Lalithakala Akademi had conducted painting camps called ‘Kari’ in and around Konni. The paintings and sketches of the elephants from these camps have also found their spots on the walls that add to the beauty of the gallery. Some of the elephant sculptures featured in the exhibition overseen by Wildlife Trust of India in Delhi can also be found at this gallery, making it an interesting experience for the visitors.
There are very unique elephant sculptures or experiences created by various artists at the gallery. A few of them are, White Elephant, Global Warming, Urban Elephant, Vinayaki, Kalinga, Rani and so on. Iron, wood and fibre are some of the prominent medium used for constructing them. ‘Airavat – the playful one’ is a frisky white elephant edifice right above the reservoir inside the elephant station which attracts attention. The elephant created out of Iron miscellanies around the theme ‘I want my wings back’ is also an excellent one.
‘Mammoth’ knowledge that awaits you
The museum is a treasure trove of elephant-related information. The murals on the walls that detail the many tales of tuskers are simply gorgeous. There’s a vast display of information regarding the origin and evolution of elephants, their habits, food, their contest with the human race. A lot more interesting specifics are captured through paintings and figures inside the museum. The enormous figure of a bull elephant’s skeletal structure that gleams in the light configurations is a rare sight. Basic insights into the elephant’s body, like knee joints, teeth, skull, chin and lower jaw, can also be gathered through the many representations here.
Chains, hooked sticks and long canes that aided in the capture of elephants, along with other equipment such as aanakarandi and mullada can be found at the museum. There are details of rare elephant stamps and coins as well that are undoubtedly interesting to afficionados. Another significant feature at the museum is the existence of audio-visual kiosks; they pass on information to the visitor with the help of visual images. Sounds of over 30 different creatures—birds, animals, amphibians and insects—can be experienced through this facility. Children can get into an exciting game of quiz on elephants too!
The famous five
There are 5 elephants in total at Konni presently including Kodanad Neelakandan, who was brought in recently. There is one another bull elephant called Krishna. The others are female elephants and are named Nina, Priyadarshini and Iva. The visitors can enjoy the antics of these spirited animals. There are also further plans to develop an elephant taming centre at the elephant reserve with one elephant leader at the helm of things.
The elephant safaris that were temporarily halted might soon be restarted. There are also features like, a special elephant station to tame tuskers rescued from the forests, children’s parks and canteens at the reserve. Monday is a holiday at the reserve. To visit any other day, or for more details, you can connect with them on these numbers – 9446426775, 04682247645.