Idukki’s Anakkulam: Awesome spot to check out elephants in close quarters

What makes this small village different is that every evening herds of elephants come to the river here to quench their mammoth thirst. Photo: iStock/Jimmy Kamballur

Anakkulam is a nondescript hamlet in Idukki with a jumbo difference. It may look like any other place with a river flowing with crystal clear water, green meadows and a small tea shop with loads of nostalgia. But what makes this small village different is that every evening herds of elephants come to the river to quench their mammoth thirst.

Many foreign tourists station themselves near the meadows to get a glimpse of jumbos gulping gallons of water in one go. The tourists can see the elephants in close quarters as they come to drink water from the river that borders the verdant forest.

It is a feast for the eyes as the elephants come out of the thicket to drink river water that has a salty flavor in the evenings. Herds consisting of five to 70 jumbos usually reach the river to drink water to their fill.

Elephants all-around
You can reach Anakkulam, meaning elephant’s pond, from Kallar on the Adimali-Munnar route. One has to travel nearly 8km from the Mankulam town to step into Anakkulam. Besides relishing the majestic beauty of the pachyderms, the tourists can take a dip in the cool waters of a check dam, which is 2km into the Anakkulam-Kozhiyalakkudi road.

The jumbos trudge to the river banks during winter season and during the initial period of the summer season. The elephants come to gulp the salty water of Eetacholayar, which flows through the western side of the Mankulam panchayat before emptying into the Periyar River. It is found that the jumbos drink the river water not only to quench thirst but also to get enough doses of nutrients from the mineral-rich waters.

How to reach
Here are some of the routes and the distance to be covered:
Adimali-Kallar: 14km
Kallar-Mankulam: 18km
Mankulam-Anakkulam: 8km

Though small vehicles can be driven on the Mankulam-Anakkulam road, you can also hire a jeep vehicle for Rs 1,500.

Safety first
Be wary while entering the waters of Anakkulam and surrounding areas. A while ago, three school students drowned in the region. Though the water body may look shallow, be cautious as the depth of the river can be deceptive.  

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