Arjuna carries howdah with aplomb

Arjuna carries howdah with aplomb

In his new role, he treads down jamboo savari route sans qualms; comes out of killer tag

On Wednesday, when Arjuna played a hero in his new role as howdah elephant with elan, he not only proved his critics false, but also wiped off the tag of a ‘villain’.

Raising the eyebrows of many, he majestically ambled along with kumki (she) elephants Chaitra and Kanthi, carrying the 750-kg golden howdah in jamboo savari, the much awaited event of Dasara.

With all eyes on him, the howdah carrier, who left the Palace at 4 pm reached Bannimantap — the culmination point of the procession — at 6.30 pm, without giving room for any complaints.

Veterinarian Dr Nagaraj who was all elated told Deccan Herald, “Arjuna accomplished the task successfully, braving against all the odds. Most importantly, he also overcame the negativism he had to carry on all these years as he was termed as a killer elephant (as he allegedly killed a mahout at Karanji lake, despite there being no clarity over the incident).”

The officer avowed that though Arjuna had heat (mast) in the initial stages, he displayed royalness, treading the four-km long procession route with teeming gathering.
“Had the troupes and tableaux cleared the way swiftly, it would have reached the end point much earlier,” Dr Nagaraj added.

Dr Nagaraj who seemed obsessed with Arjuna, said; “It all depends on the way you take care of the animal.”

However, he had a smile on his face — instead of a reply — when asked; whether Arjuna has permanently succeeded Balarama, the earlier howdah elephant.

Being younger than his predecessor Balarama, the age also has gone in favour of Arjuna.
Director of Project Elephant Ajai Misra said, though Arjuna is said to be aged 52 years, it could be much younger as he was caught in the khedda operation in the year 1968, which was also the last such operation.

Arjuna displayed calmness and remained patient throughout the day. Though it takes close to one-and-a-half hours to mount the golden howdah, in the case of Arjuna it took just one hour.

The howdah was placed on the jumbo with the help of a crane at the dedicated place in front of the private residence of the royal scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.

The process though supervised by top officers from the forest department; director of project elephant Ajai Misra, chief conservator of forests K B Markandaiah, DCFs D G Gaonkar and S N Devaraj, Pramodadevi Wadiyar, wife of the royal scion, was watching the ongoings from the window of her residence.

No sooner the howdah was fastened on to the jumbo, puja was performed, as is the practice and the elephants; Arjuna, Chaitra and Kanthi lifted their trunks in salute as a mark of respect to the royal family that consisted of Pramodadevi and maharajakumaris and their family members.

Pramodadevi Wadiyar, who too saluted in reply, directed the mahouts to move — thus paving way for the jamboo savari.

It (mounting howdah) was also the crowd puller, with equally curious crowd intently watching the exercise.

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