During my visit to Top Slip, a tourist spot inside the Aanamalai Tiger Reserve (a part of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park) I happened to take a wildlife safari which led me to an elephant camp inside the forest. Called as Kozhikamuthi, the elephant camp is home to number of best trained elephants or kumkis which are used for taming elephants and to transport timber. The Top Slip derives its name from the process of wooden logs used to be slipped down from the top of the hills to the plains.
Kozhikamuthi elephant camp is a small hamlet or settlement of tribes exclusively converted for elephants to keep trained and housed under the Malisar tribes, who belong to the elephant handler’s caste and skilled to work with Asian elephants. It was evening when we made to this camp and it seems feeding elephants in front of the visitors is a regular activity there. There were very few elephants standing behind the wood barriers, amuse when mahout feeds them mouthful (kavalam) of vitamin balls, one of the vital ingredient on their daily intake.
Situated at the bank of a river, the elephant camp has natural surroundings of green and woods but been a dry season then, many elephants were sent to another camp deep inside the forest which is restricted for pubic.