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This article includes information on the Following Topics:
bullet The Elephant Orphanage bullet Activities for Visitors
bullet Importance of the Success of Pinnawela bullet Academic Interest in the Orphanage
bullet Pinnawela and its Surroundings bullet Reaching the Orphanage
Introduction to the Elephant Orphanage

It is a daunting task to precisely define what exactly the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage does in one single statement. Tourists claim that the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is a zoo with no cages and one of the most alluring places in the world. Wildlife enthusiasts and those who are engaged in academic activities revolving around nature and wildlife claim that it is one of the best places to study elephants and nature. Children would express their views with joy and state that the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is one of the greatest places they have ever visited. 

For environmentalists and naturalists, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage plays a pivotal role when it comes to wildlife conservation. All of these diverse and different views and opinions are true. The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, as its name suggests, acts as a centre for orphaned elephants. It is one of the largest, most visited, and most popular elephant sanctuaries in the globe and there are over 80 elephants being taken care of here.
One could wonder if the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and its dozens of elephants are safe for humans but any visitor who has seen the sanctuary knows that the entire area is perfectly safe. The elephants are completely tamed and harmless. The predominant reasons for this is the large number of visitors who flock to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. As a result, the elephants, especially the baby elephants, have grown extremely accustomed to human visitors.

Tourist Activities at the Orphanage


There are a number of activities that visitors can engage during their visit to the Pinnnawela Elephant Orphanage. A vast amount of information and photographs can be obtained at the orphanage and the amazing serenity of the area allows any person to spend time in a leisurely enjoyable manner. One could even see the elephants bathe at a very close range and even feed them. Tourists love to feed the baby elephants with bottles of nutritious milk, which are specially prepared by the authorities at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.

The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage was initiated in 1972 and it is now operating in its 5th decade. The current location of the orphanage was selected three years after the establishment of the orphanage. The Maha Oya River of Sri Lanka passes through the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and it is here that the elephants of the orphanage take their baths. The bathing time is conducted according to strict time schedules each day - from 10:00 a.m. in the morning to 2:00 a.m. in the evening.
The feeding time for the elephants occurs at around 9:00 a.m. and continues for until the bathing sessions of the elephants. Tourists can visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage exactly during these hours in order to engage in feeding the elephants and even bathing them, although this is usually carried out only by the trained personnel.

Success and Academic Interest


In addition to this immense enjoyment and high levels of excitement the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage has being able to instil in the general public of the island as well as in countless tourists from almost every other nation, scientists, naturalists, biologists, and other academically associated personnel have also taken an interest in this particular establishment.
The massive success that the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage has been able to garner is one of the primary reasons for this academic-related interest. Additionally, the huge impact the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage has on conservation activities of elephants and its huge global popularity has also led to thousands of academic initiatives.
A large number of scientific publications pertaining to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and its elephants have been made over the decades. Tourists can easily find a number of books, journals, articles, and websites that speak about the elephants at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. These books are available in English, Sinhala, and in several other languages. Video documentaries and investigations have been created on the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.
Moreover, hundreds of professional researchers have visited the premises and conducted extensive analyses and researches on the elephants and their lifestyle.

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Travellers and the general public of Sri Lanka, including the local residents of the area have come to know Pinnawela due to its globally popular elephant orphanage. However, the name "Pinnawela" by its own refers to a town in the district of Kegalle. Kegalle is situated close to Colombo and the journey from Colombo to Kegalle takes less than two hours. Pinnawela is one of the villages that belong to the district of Kegalle and this particular village is approximately 90 kilometres from the central portion of Colombo.


Reaching Pinnawela can be done via the local transportation buses and the local taxi services. Tourists can hire the services of the luxurious tourist coaches that are being used at a gradually increased rate in the country. The road to Pinnawela is relatively easy and one would encounter traffic only during the mornings and evenings of the weekdays. Coming back to the village of Pinnawela, it is evident that Pinnawela has enjoyed the benefits from extensive tourism and due to its close vicinity to the main town of the district of Kegalle, tourists can access various facilities and services.

Additionally, travellers can also access Pinnawela via the Colombo – Hill Country railway line. One of the major train stops of this particular rail road is the Rambukkana Train Station and it is situated only five to ten minutes away. The Yatagama railway station, despite not being used as much as the Rambukkana station, is also situated close by. Several educational institutions, temples, and small woodlands can be found in the vicinity of Pinnawela. The Maha Oya River, one of the most popular rivers of the island, runs through the village of Pinnawela and the surrounding scenery is able to catch the eye of any visitor.


Upon inspection of the route to Pinnawela and Kegalle, one would realise that it is positions almost exactly at the halfway point on the road from Colombo to Kandy. This particular fact has a sky-high degree of significance as it is one of the busiest tourist routes in the island. The historic and culturally rich city of Kandy as well as the spectacularly beauteous Hill Country heighten the ambience of the entire area. Many Sri Lankan travellers and foreign tourists stop by Pinnawela during their journey from Colombo to Kandy in order to experience the magical beauty and bewitching charm of the elephants that are safeguarded at the elephant orphanage.

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