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Bec rides one of the elelphants.
Bec rides one of the elelphants.
Feed time.
Bec scrubs an elephant.

Kandy Elephant Orphanage

Thursday, November 8, 2001
Rebecca Harris will never forget an orphanage for baby elephants in Sri Lanka

Kandy, in Sri Landa's highlands is the country's second biggest city. The Sacred Tooth Relic is kept there, preserved for veneration at the Dadala Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth). The sacred tooth of Buddha was snatched from his funeral pyre and brought there in the 4th Century.

There is a constant flow of tourists and worshippers to the temple, but visitors don't actually get to see the tooth because it's kept in a series of gold caskets deep inside the temple. The temple itself was built by Kandy kings from 1687 to 1707 and from 1747 to 1782.

Every year around July to August a parade Esala Perahera is held to honour the Sacred Tooth. The huge procession is led by drummers and dancers, followed by 100 elephants.

On the way to Kandy from Colombo, near a small town called Kegalle, is the government-run Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage. It was established in 1975 to save abandoned, injured and orphaned wild elephants. They are fed five times a day, seven bottles per day. They bathe from 10am to noon and 2-4pm. The water helps to control their temperature and while the adults roll about in the shallows, the babies generally play. The elephants roam freely about the sanctuary but the public are kept at a safe distance so no-one is endagered. Once they grow up, the animals can be bought by the public and put to work.

Having an elephant is something of a status symbol in Sri Landa. It is possible to get closer to the anilams at a nearby park, where working elephants have their daily bath before heading for the forests. You can scrub them with coconum or take an elephant ride.

When travelling to Sri Lanka it is wise to take precautions against Malaria and diarrhoea. See the travel doctor before you leave.


115km north-east of Colombo, Sri Lanka.


For updated costings please contact Tourmakers Travel.

More information

Tourmakers TravelShop 41 Mountain Gate Shopping Centre
Ferntree Gully VIC 3156

03 9758 7655

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