Calm, composed Balarama still charms many

The 54-year-old gentle giant Balarama may have been declared unfit to carry the golden howdah this year, but still remains an undisputable leader; both in demand and also profile.

The pachyderm known for its gentleness was caught in Kattepura forest in Kodagu district in the year 1987. He has participated in Dasara for 16 times, and has carried the howdah for 12 years.

Despite losing the tag, he was the first pick of many curious visitors for their cameras on Saturday too. This despite most among the visitors knowing about Arjuna succeeding Balarama. It was only after Balarama, the visitors were flocking towards Arjuna to take a glimpse of him.

New role

For Thimma and Ganesha, the mahout and kavadi of Balarama respectively, it’s hard to digest the fact. What has kept them hooked is the job and Balarama slated to don the role of ‘Nishane’ elephant, the role Arjuna was playing all these years in jamboo savari.

Veterinarian Dr Nagaraj told Deccan Herald, as it’s a filial like bond between the mahouts and elephants, Thimma was initially upset. He later agreed to the fact that the jumbo was weak, the reason that made authorities to look for an alternative in Arjuna.

What’s heart rending is; Thimma who had basked in the glory of reining howdah elephant for the first time in the year 2011, had to lose it in the second year.

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