Feast for 'guests from forests' in Mysore before their return

A big shamiyana was put up on the sprawling palace premises. Rural Development and Panchayat Raj and District-In-Charge Minister Shobha Karandlaje took a break from the three day ‘Chintan  Bhaitak’ going on at Suttur in Nanjangud taluk, and had lunch with the ‘guests from forests’. She sat next to Sannappa, the mahout of ‘Balarama’-the golden howdah carrying elephant, and had pure vegetarian food. After the first batch, she served food for the family members of mahouts and kavadis.

Deputy Commissioner P Manivannan, MCC Commissioner K S Rayker, all senior officials of forest department, Mysore Palace Board Deputy Director P V Avaradi, Mysore City Police Commissioner Sunil Agarwal, Mayor Purushottam and Deputy Mayor Kamalamma too had lunch with them. The families felt proud to have lunch with the minister and senior officials of various departments.

Although, the minister came 25 minutes behind schedule she mingled with the mahouts, kavadis and their family members and spent around 10-15 minutes. The mahouts and kavadis were given a honourarium of Rs 5,000 each from Mysore Palace Board, as an incentive for them. This is apart from regular salaries which they get from the department and free ration distributed by the district administration as long as they stayed in the palace premises.

After toiling hard for 56 days for the success of the Dasara festival, the mahouts and their family members had been enjoying freedom. The elephants too enjoying the hospitality being extended by the district administration by way of special food such as jaggery, sugar cane, vegetables, fruits and a variety of green leaves for them.
The Dasara elephants along with mahouts and kavadis would leave to their respective destinations on Thursday in trucks.

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