Balarama still has come back chances

Puja held to thank the jumbo, prayers for success of Arjuna as howdah elephant

Balarama may have missed the opportunity to the carry golden howdah in Jamboo Savari on  October 24, but still he stands the chances of making a come back as the main pachyderm.

Had all gone well, Balarama should have ambled carrying the 750-kg howdah for the consecutive 13th year on the jamboo savari route, the last leg of Navaratri in the city of palaces. Owing to his weakness, and the sapping energy that came to fore during the rehearsal in the run up to the D-day, a panel of experts consisting both veterinarians and higher officers of the forest department zeroed in on Arjuna.

DCF S N Devaraj told media on Monday, though there were speculations about which elephant would lead the band of pachyderms on the grand finale, the authorities had almost decided on Arjuna much before.

However, what had forced the authorities to delay the announcement on Arjuna succeeding Balarama was, the former in mast (when it develops heat).
It was only after being convinced about the behaviour of Arjuna, the announcement was finally made.

The officer succinctly said that, however, Balarama will continue to be in the procession as nishane elephant. He also stands chances of making a comeback as howdah elephant next year, if Arjuna doesn’t fit the bill. “Balarama is the only alternative available,” asserted Devaraj.

An elephant in captivity lives up to the age of 80 against 100 in the forest. Both the elephants — Balarama and Arjuna — are still left with the energy to don the role for 15 years down the line.

Earlier, puja was offered to Balarama at the shelter on the Palace premises invoking the blessings of the Lord Ganesha (as the deity is elephant headed). More than that, it was a thanking gesture to Balarama for making Dasara glitches-free and passing on the baton to Arjuna.

What made the occasion complete was Balarama emblazoned with silky cloth. It was the same cloth, used to decorate the very jumbo during jamboo savari too.

Mahout Thimma and Kavadi Ganesha were also felicitated with Mysore Peta and shawl. Not to forget, Dodda Masti, the mahout of Arjuna was also honoured.

Medical education and district in-charge minister S A Ramdas, deputy commissioner P S Vastrad, deputy director of Palace Board T S Subramanya, veterinarian Dr Nagaraj and other officers were present.

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