As we set out from our hotel in Galle we asked our driver the agenda for that day and he told us that we would be proceeding to Kandy which was a 6 hr drive stopping at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage enroute. Owing to heavy breakfast at the hotel I dozed off as soon as I sat in the car and hence have no clue about the journey which was apparently very beautiful as the road passes through a number of villages set amidst lush greenery.
The next thing I remember is my husband waking me up and telling me to look out and lo behold there they were – the elephants.
I had read a lot about the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala a village in Srilanka but nothing prepared for what I saw as soon as I disembarked from our car.Being led by their mahouts the elephants were being taken from the orphanage to the river which is directly on the opposite side of the elephants residential area for their daily bath.
We rushed inside the orphanage bought the entry tickets and then ran across the road to catch the elephants having their bath.
The elephants are taken to the Maha Oya river which flows through the place and are left there under the surveillance of their mahouts while visitors can see and click photographs.
Its truly a sight to watch as the elephants play in the water and the baby elephants splash water and enjoy.
The Elephants are led back to orphanage post this session. The Pinnawala Orphanage is an orphanage and captive breeding ground for wild elephants that have been displaced from their herd. These young elephants are rescued and brought to the orphanage where they are nursed, fed and taken care off by mahouts. The orphanage also has a veterinary hospital to cater to the medical needs of the elephants.
Apart from healthy elephants the orphanage is also home to many physically disabled and also a blind elephant.
Visitors can also take part in the feeding sessions i.e. bottle feeding baby elephants provided they reach the venue during the particular time. We unfortunately could not make it for the feeding time.
Another unique initiative taken by the management is that they work in collaboration with a company to produce 100% recycled paper 75% of which is made out of elephant dung and is very nicely termed as the “Poo Paper”.
There is an authorized shop that sells several articles made out of this “Poo Paper” that can be taken back as souvenirs.
The store has some really cute stuff especially for kids such as notebooks, small bags and also scrapbooks with pictures.