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Elephant Shelter In Kerala Hindu Temples – Anakottil

 Anakottil is a unique structure found in many important temples in Kerala. It is the elephant shed or shelter in a Hindu temple. It is usually found adjacent to the main temple within the temple courtyard.

In Malayalam it is also referred to as Nadapanthal. It is usually constructed touching the Balikalpura.

Elephant Shelter In Kerala Hindu Temples – Anakottil

During festivals and important rituals, caparisoned elephants stand in the anakottil with the thidambu – golden structure representing the main deity of the temple.

Anakottil is a big structure supported mostly by eight pillars and is open on all four sides. The height of the Anakottil is calculated by a person sitting atop the elephant and lifting ornamental umbrella (pattukuda). Another method of determining the height of the structure is by seeing the height attained when the tallest elephant of the temple lifts its trunk.

Some of the important temples in Kerala have the Anakottil in front of the temple or on the left side.