12-member jumbo squad ready for Dasara 2012

Jumbos shortlisted

A year ago, when Dasara culminated with Jamboo Savari the last leg of navaratri grandeur, the focus was on howdah elephant Balarama. For the reason that, it could be his last Dasara considering its age factor. 

Now, after an year, Balarama is in focus again with forest department preparing the list of 12 probable elephants to participate in the forthcoming Dasara starting from October 15. 

List

Balarama finds name in the list, besides Arjuna, Abhimanyu, Gajendra, Srirama, Harsha, Vikrama and Gopi (all male), Kanti, Vijaya, Chaitra and Kaveri (female). 

Sources said, though the list has been forwarded to the authorities concerned, it’s still undecided on the howdah carrier; it could be either Balarama or Arjuna. While Vanaraja, that was touted to be the successor of Balarama two years ago, is ruled out.

Balarama

Balarama who has been the howdah elephant for the past 13 years (including Dasara 2011), is aged 54 and still remains to be soft and gentle natured. These are the qualities that has made the pachyderm perform the role with elan.

Arjuna was the elephant who displayed the same nature, when he successfully carried the howdah once after the demise of Drona. The reason enough for the authorities to bank on Arjuna, to replace Balarama if anything goes haywire. However, the authorities are optimistic that Balarama is fit enough to continue with his Dasara duty. Unlike previous years, it has been also decided to cut down the number of days the jumbos were camping in Palace city. 

Schedule

Instead of 60 days, it will be for 45 days starting from September 1. The change in schedule is owing to increasing traffic in the city, that always serves as a caution during jumbos rehearsal on the procession route. 

The elephants have been staying at different elephant camps- Bandipura, Titimati, Balle, K Gudi and Dubare. They are already being fed with parboiled rice, jaggery among others to enable them acclimatise with the quantity of food that will be increased during their stay in the palace city.

Tenders have been already invited to ferry the elephants from the respective camps to the city, besides making suitable arrangements for the stay of mahouts and kavadis with their families within the precincts of the palace.

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