Training next generation jumbos for dasara

Acclimatise

Elephants are quintessential part of Mysore Dasara and are cynosure of all eyes during the festival season in the months of September and October. The gentle giants walking on the busy streets of city always baffle the newcomers. However, as for training them to walk calmly, it takes meticulous training and acquaintance for the jumbos before they are introduced to the world famous jamboo savari procession.

After almost a decade, new pachyderms have been added to the group of Dasara elephants. Three more elephants – Gange, Cauvery and Gopi, will start their Dasara innings from this year. Among the novice, Gange is camping in the palace along with her mother Mary and other Dasara jumbos.

While, Cauvery and Gopi will arrive at the palace city in the second batch. They will be among six more elephants that will join seven elephants – Balarama, Abhimanyu, Mary Gajendra, Arjuna, Sarala and Gange who arrived in the first batch. Gange, Cauvery and Gopi are being brought to city to make them acquainted with bustling city life and to replace the ageing elephants with young ones.

Thimma, the mahout of Gange reveals that the she elephant is shy and chooses to be with mother Mary always. At the same time, the 14-year old jumbo throws lot of tantrums in the camp in the forest. She is continuing her playful attitude in the palace and during the regular rehearsal walk. “She is very attached to her mother. If her mother is not in sight, she begins to panic during her stay here as it is the first exposure for her inside crowded place like Mysore,” the mahout tells City Herald.

Gange is currently in Balle elephant camp in Hunsur wildlife division. She was born to Mary, the jumbo which was caught in last Khedda operation of the state in the year 1977. Mary has taken part in Dasara jumbo savari for ten years. Elephant Kavitha will retire this year as she has crossed 70 years of age. 

Soon, Cauvery and Gopi will join Gange among the novice elephants. According to Dr D N Nagaraj, veterinary doctor taking care of elephants’ health says it should not be any problem for Gange to adjust with city environment as she is accustomed to people and vehicular traffic in her camp in Hunsur. “There are good number of tourists flow near the camp and also vehicular traffic moving on the highway off the camp. All the three elephants chosen to join the Dasara jumbos are soft in nature. But, there is always a risk involved as mood of animals fluctuates,” says Nagaraj.

He adds that number of Dasara elephants would increase to 14 with the addition of three new elephants in comparison with regular 12 elephants. “We are not sure whether new elephants will be a part of Jamboo Savari or not. It will be decided after assessing their mood and behaviour during training. But, not all the elephants will be accommodated in jumboo savari as number will be restricted to 12,” he says.

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