ANAKKULAM – Where Human-Wildlife Coexistence Explore the Unexplored


About Anakkulam:

Anakkulam is a small village with lush green forest area located at an elevation of 1450 MSL, falling under the Mankulam Forest division in the Idukki district of Kerala. The main attraction of Anakkulam is the only place in Kerala where wild elephant herds, including calves, come from a nearby forest to drink water from the flowing small river called “Eettacholayar.” Though this has been happening for many years, authorities have recently taken notice of the peculiar behavior of the wild elephants.

This place is situated on the banks of the Eettacholayar river, where one side is the forest, and the other side is a settlement of local people. An open playground, local market, tea and snacks shops, restaurants, a temple, a church, etc., are all located in the vicinity. The river has a flat terrain with numerous small and large rocks, less than one meter in depth, and is at a distance of hardly 150 to 200 feet from the main road.

Main Attractions of Anakkulam:

Wild elephant herds, along with calves, reach this spot to drink water, and bubbles often emerge from the bottom of the river because of the aquifer. Sometimes, the elephants stay for an extended duration, displaying a playful mood, seemingly unaffected by their surroundings. The calves engage in bathing, while the adult elephants do not. The herds, comprising up to 15 to 20 members, occasionally visit. Local people and children play football on the riverbed, very near to it, seemingly unconcerned about the elephants drinking water. While incidents of wild elephants attacking or causing damage have been reported in other parts of Kerala, no such events have occurred in Anakkulam, making it a favored destination for tourists seeking a visual spectacle.

It is a question that why these elephants and calves come to a particular place to drink water with bubbles emerging from the rocks.  The local people informed that the water is salty or rich in minerals, although it has not been tested and confirmed by the authorities.   

Anakkulam Highlights:

The most important thing about Anakkulam is the perfect coexistence of wild elephants and local people without reporting any incidents till now. The authorities are maintaining and preserving the location to ensure that wildlife enthusiasts, tourists, or local people do not create any hindrance to the movements of wild elephants. We hope that your visit to Anakkulam is one of the best experiences and a visual treat for a long-lasting memory.

Anakkulam – Important Travel Tips or Things to Know Before Going:

  1. Usually, these wild elephant herds and calves come to the river anytime between pm to 10 pm.  Some days you can spot wild elephants during the day time also.
  2. You can sit on the riverside, stay, or play on the riverbed. Getting into the river, taking a bath, or walking in the river is allowed until 5:30 pm. After that, the forest guard will not allow people to stay back in the river or on the riverbed. You can move back and sit on the roadside concrete structure, which is less than 200ft from the river. No one is allowed to stay in the river or on the riverbed after 5:30 pm due to safety reasons.
  3. Though most days you can see these wild elephant herds, it is not guaranteed, and sometimes they may come very late in the evening. So, it’s a matter of chance, and you should not be disappointed.
  4. If you come a bit early, you can visit river side bamboo forest managed by the forest department. It’s a pleasant place with relaxing seating arrangements. It is located on the right side or opposite side of the small temple.
  5. If you are a wildlife photographer coming for photography, we recommend staying in Mankulam for a couple of days rather than staying and coming from Munnar.
  6. Though the wild jumbo spotting place is less than 200ft from the road, and most of the activity occurs after 6 pm, the forest department has installed a high mast light to help wildlife enthusiasts see the wild elephants. Carrying binoculars is highly recommended.
  7. Anakkulam is not only famous for wild elephants, but there are also many other things to see and experience. This includes waterfalls, a check dam where you can bath in the river, an offroad jeep ride through the forest, visiting a tribal settlement, and much more.
  8. Those who want to stay back, Anakkulam offers 5 star hotels to homestays. But most of the accommodations are homestays which are located at Mankulam. There are few three-star hotels as well.
  9. Since the MSL elevation is less than Munnar, the climate is moderate during winter and need ac rooms during summer.
  10. Do not expect a good restaurant, but coffee, tea and snacks shops are all available. Otherwise you need to depend on these hotels for food.
  11. Local taxi cars and jeeps are available for rent at the same spot.
  12. Public transport stop is just in front of the river. If you are coming by a public transport, returning back to the bus after 7pm is difficult.
  13. If you are traveling from Munnar city to Anakkulam by your own car or with an inexperienced driver via Lakshmi estate, be careful when returning. Some parts of the Munnar-Anakkulam road via Lakshmi estate pass through the forest, and sightings of wild elephants on the road have been reported many times.
  14. There are many tour operators from Munnar that operate this sightseeing trip by Jeep. If you want to book such a trip, please book here.

Best Season and Time to Visit Anakkulam:

As per the climatic condition of Kerala and based on the previous experiences and inputs by concerned authorities, below are the best season and time to visit Anakkulam.

  • Best season – Best season to visit this activity is from Sep till May end. June, July, and August are monsoons in Kerala.  During monsoon season, due to the abundant availability of water in the forest, there is less or no chance of seeing this activity.
  • Best time – Wild jumbos commonly come to the river in the afternoon or evening, particularly from 5:30 pm to 10 pm. Approximately 75% of sightings begin after 6:30 pm onwards. However, there are instances when they come during the morning or midday.


  • How to include Anakkulam in your Kerala tour itinerary?

Ans: As previously stated, Anakkulam is an hour’s journey from Kallar, located on the Kochi Munnar Highway.  When going from Kochi to Munnar, deviate from Kallar to Anakkulam, which is an hour’s drive away.  Wild elephants are usually spotted in the afternoon or evening, so you can visit and arrive at your Munnar hotel by late evening. Those planning to visit this location on their way back from Munnar to Kochi should make sure that their flight/train departure time is midnight or the next day.

  • What time is the entry and how much it cost?

Ans: There is no restriction or entry fee to visit Anakkulam. But entry to bamboo forest is Rs 20 per head.

  • How close I can see wild elephants at Anakkulam?

Ans: There is around 200 feet (60 meters) of river bed between the main road and the river. Because no one is allowed to watch wild jumbos from the river bed, you may see them from the 200-foot-long road.  The jumbos are coming towards a particular place in the middle of the river. To be more specific, the nearest location where the jumbos may be observed closely is just opposite the high mast light pole.

  • Is there any other things to see in Anakkulam?

Ans: Yes, there are many things to see in Anakkulam apart from the wild elephant spotting.  These include perennial waterfalls like Kanigiri, Perumbankuthu, etc., Viripara hanging bridge, off road jeep safari through forest with river crossing, bird watching tours, river bathing at check dam, tribal village visit and hiking to Kannadipara and Kilikkallu. All of these are operated by the Kerala Forest Department, for which you must pay a fee and guide expenses.

  • Should I stay in Anakkulam or Munnar to experience this wildlife?

Ans: You do not have to stay at Anakkulam to witness wild elephants.  However, if you enjoy nature and wildlife, we recommend spending at least one night at this location.

  • Do I need to hire a jeep from Munnar to Anakkulam?

Ans: The road from Mankulam to Anakkulam is 6 kilometers long, with steep ups and downs and many sharp U turns.  As a result, driving a standard sedan is challenging, but driving a jeep or SUV will be much more comfortable.  Due to the terrain, a jeep or SUV with a local driver who is familiar with the area is strongly advised for this journey.  As a result, if you already own an SUV, you will not need to charter a jeep for this trip.  However, if you have a tiny car, it is usually advisable to rent a jeep from Munnar to explore this location.  You can also take a vehicle from Mankulam to reach Anakkulam.

  • Do this place have wheelchair access?

Ans: Yes, you can travel wherever on the road in a wheelchair. However, accessing the riverbed directly from the road may be challenging.

How to Reach

Anakkulam is easily accessible from Kochi, Ernakulam, and Munnar; these locations’ details are provided below. While travelling from Kochi to Munnar, you need to take a deviation from Kallar town.

  • From Kochi Airport/Ernakulam or Fort Kochi to Anakkulam: Anakkulam is located on the Kochi Munnar highway.  When traveling from Kochi, Fort Kochi, or Ernakulam, turn left at Kallar town.  Although there are deviations from Adimali town, the best and safest road is from Kallar.  Kochi to Kallar is around 115 kilometers, and Kallar – Mankulam – Anakkulam is 24 kilometers, however, the drive could take up to an hour. The overall travel duration from Kochi is roughly 4.5 hours.  If you are taking public transportation, you must first depart at Kallar before continuing on to Anakkulam via bus. 
  • From Munnar to Anakkulam: Munnar to Anakkulam via Kallar is 34 kilometers and may take 1.5 hours.  The most direct route from Munnar city is via Lakshmi Estate.  Although the distance and driving time are the same, this route is more beautiful because it passes through tea plantations and forests.  You can also drive from Kallar to Mankulam and Anakkulam, which takes about an hour.  For those staying in Anachal, Chithirapuram, or Rajakkad in Munnar, the ideal route is Kallar – Mankulam – Anakkulam.
  • From Thekkedy to Anakkulam: The route is via Anakkara – Vandanmedu -Kallar. Total 65 kms drive and it may take up to 2.5 hrs.
  • From Vagamon to Anakkulam.  The route is via Ayyappancoil – Kattappana – Kallar.  Total 55 kms and it may take up to 2 hrs drive.


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