This blog discusses the best elephant reserves in India, where elephants live peacefully in their natural environment. These places are dedicated only to the welfare of elephants, providing them with comfortable living and taking care of all their requirements. 

In India, Elephants are considered sacred. Unfortunately, even though these gentle giants are believed to be a form of Lord Ganesh, over the years, the instances of Elephant poaching and killing have increased significantly. 

Also, the Human-elephant conflict instances have been on the rise due to the increase of human encroachment on forest lands. So, to promote peaceful living of both humans and animals, especially elephants, many dedicated shelters are created for elephant conservation, and help these beautiful creatures thrive.

Whether you are an animal lover or not, you must surely visit one of these elephant reserves in India at least once, and we bet you will have a great time!

Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve, Odisha

This reserve is a beautiful forest area in Odisha. Home to a large population of majestic Asian elephants, it is one of the best places to visit in India to see these beautiful animals roaming freely in the wilderness. 

The reserve officials leave no stone unturned in taking care and conserving these elephants. Apart from the main attraction, elephants, this reserve also boasts various flora and fauna. The beautiful landscape and the elephants compete for your attention here at the reserve. 

As you tour the reserve, you will find glistening waterfalls, grassy woodlands and forest greenery, enhancing your experience. If you are in luck, you can see a dancing peacock or baby elephants; you can spend an entire day watching their antics and yet not have enough of it. 

The baby elephants are absolutely adorable and just a mere sight at these beautiful creatures will definitely change the way you think about wildlife. 

  • Entry fee – Rs. 40 per person, additional charges of Rs. 50 for camera
  • Best time to visit – During the winter, i.e., from November to February
  • Connectivity – Bhubaneshwar Airport is the closest airport to the reserve, and the nearest railway station is Balasore

Dubare Elephant Camp, Karnataka

Dubare is a natural delta island created by the Kaveri River, and it is surrounded by evergreen forests on all sides. The elephants from the forest reserves in Karnataka come to Dubare island in search of water and food. This Indian elephant reserve is a critical base for Karnataka Forest Department’s elephants. 

A popular tourist attraction in Coorg, or Kodagu, as it is officially called, the Dubare camp attracts several visitors from all over the world. People come here to watch the elephants in their natural habitat. Also, here you get a chance to interact with these absolutely gorgeous beasts, under the guidance of a trained mahout. You can also enjoy watching these elephants bathe in the river and scrub them and pet them. 

  • Entry fee – Rs. 20 per person
  • Best time to visit – From September to February
  • Connectivity – The closest airport to the reserve is Mangalore Airport, and the nearest railway station is Mysore

Punnatthur Kotta, Kerala

In the list of elephant reserves in India, Punnatthur Kota deserves a special mention, as it is unlike any other elephant reserve you may have seen or heard of. Unlike other reserves mentioned in the list, where the elephants live in the wild and roam freely in the forest areas, in Punnatthur Kotta, the elephants live in an enclosed area. 

The Punnatthur Kotta was once a place of the local ruler, and it boasts a vast area of open land. Today, it is used to shelter more than 50 elephants that belong to the Guruvayoor temple, and it is renamed as Anna Kotta, which literally translates to ‘Elephant Fort.’

The unique thing about this reserve in Kerala is that here a team of highly train mahout train the elephants to participate in several religious festivals that take place throughout the year. Also, here the elephants are not only cared for, but they are also worshipped with great reverence.

  • Entry fee – Rs. 10 per person, additional charges of Rs. 25 for camera
  • Best time to visit – Anytime of the year
  • Connectivity – The closest airport to the reserve is Kochi airport, and the nearest railway station is Thrissur

Garo Hills Elephant Reserve, Meghalaya

Meghalaya has a sizeable population of elephants, which are protected through two elephant reserves in the region, one of which is the Garo-Hills elephant reserve. In the reserve, wildlife species, including elephants, share space with tribal communities in different pockets. 

As a tourist, you not only get glimpses of elephants and other inhabitants of the reserve, but also you get a chance to meet and interact with the tribals and learn about their local culture. Incidentally, some of the woodlands are community-owned, which sets a wonderful sight where the wildlife and humans co-exist in peace. 

  • Entry fee – No entry fee
  • Best time to visit – From November to February and April to June
  • Connectivity – The closest airport to the reserve is Guwahati airport, and the nearest railway station is Guwahati

Singhbhum Elephant Reserve, Jharkhand

The first elephant reserve in India, the Singhbhum Elephant Reserves, was founded in 2001. The reserve covers a vast area, including the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, which lies inside it. As you travel through this thick forest area, you can see several elephants going about their daily routine and being nonchalant. 

Apart from these majestic creatures, you can also spot many other species at the reserve, like barking deer, sloth bears, and sometimes even the royal Bengal Tigers, which tend to venture out here from the nearby Palamanu Tiger Reserve. 

  • Entry fee – Rs. 5 per person, additional charges of Rs. 80 for camera
  • Best time to visit – From September to February
  • Connectivity – The closest airport to the reserve is Ranchi Airport, and the nearest railway station is Balasore

Smiling Tusker Elephant Camp, Assam

Assam is known to have one of the highest populations of elephants in India, and a sizeable number of them live here at the Smiling Tusker Elephant Camp. A novel initiative by an NGO named Anajaree is to conserve trained and captive elephants. At the camp, these elephants are taken care of, and they are provided with everything they need to live freely. 

The camp organises camping and safari activities to garner the attention of the visitors and educated them the habitat, behaviour and lifestyle of elephants. Here, you also get a chance to interact with these beautiful creatures and click pictures with them. 

  • Entry fee – No entry fee. But if you want to go camping, or on safari, charges start from Rs. 4000
  • Best time to visit – From September to February
  • Connectivity – The closest airport to the reserve is Guwahati Airport, and the nearest railway station is Barapeta Road

Theppakadu Elephant Camp, Tamil Nadu

Theppakadu Elephant Camp is an integral part of the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Niligiri Biosphere. The sanctuary, commonly known as the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, is home to several elephants. 

Surrounded by the evergreen Nilgiri Hills, the sanctuary, combined with the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve create one of the largest forest habitats in India. This area has various kinds of vegetation. The marshy lands inside the forest, called 'Ombetta vayal’ is where elephant and bison herds flock.

Within the sanctuary is the Theppakadu Elephant Camp, one of the oldest elephant reserves in India. Here, more than 25 elephants live, and the forest officials take care of them. For tourists, they organise special camps where they teach them about the elephants' lifestyle and eating habits. You can see the official feeding the elephants, and it is a wonderful sight to experience. 

  • Entry fee – Rs. 20 per person
  • Best time to visit – From September to February
  • Connectivity – Coimbatore Airport is the closest airport to the reserve, and Ooty is the nearest railway station.

While the above elephant reserve list in India is not comprehensive, these are the most popular ones in the country and promise a wonderful experience for tourists. So, make a plan to visit one of these reserves soon, and rest assured you will cherish this experience for the rest of your life. 

  • places to visit

About Club Mahindra

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.

Read More

Checkout our resorts

JOIN THE CLUB