Show-stoppers with customised jewellery

Jumbo Glitterati


 While these preparations are seen by all, what begins around the same time is the polishing of elephants’ accessories.

The jewels worn by the elephants are taken out from the palace ACP’s treasury and are put out to dry. They are polished almost every alternate day, to give it the glittering look for the final day.

The dozen elephants, which arrive for the jamboo savari, are made to wear these jewels during the rehearsal runs so that they get used to these metal objects. Essentially made from brass, steel and aluminium, these ‘jewels’ have been adorning the body of elephants since the government took over Dasara celebrations in the 70s.

The jewellery is handed over to forest department on the eve of ‘jamboo savari’, and mahouts and kavadis don the role of ‘beauticians’.

Interestingly, the jewels for male and female elephants are different. Male elephants wear ‘nettipattam’ or ‘siri’, the triangular piece hanging from its forehead comprising small and big brass bubbles all over, while the female elephants get a ‘hanepatti’, which resembles the traditional ‘tika’ with three strings. Both the pieces of jewellery are fastened beneath the neck.

The tusk is covered with ‘Singoti’. The howdah elephant, Balarama, gets a Singoti with more details to make it look attractive. Balarama is flanked by female elephants on either side. The elephants which go in the first line of jamboo savari are given intricate pieces of jewellery compared to the ones that follow.

However, Balarama is an exception since he will be carrying a lot of weight on him already. The elephants that follow, are referred to as ‘saalu aane’ or ‘saalane’ are given more plain looking pieces of chains and bangles. Mahouts are also given matching ‘ankusha’ or the sharp-edged tool that is used to control elephants.

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