'Gajapayana' begins on a simple note

First batch of six Dasara elephants arrives in Mysore

'Gajapayana' begins on a simple note

Gajapayana, the first leg of ‘Nada Habba’ Mysore Dasara, kicked off here on Thursday. However, unlike previous years, it was a low-key affair, following the demise of the scion of the royal family Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar last December.

Among the first batch of six elephants, howdah carrier Arjuna, howdah veteran Balarama, Abhimanyu, Mary and Varalakshmi began their journey from Nagapura, while Gajendra started from K Gudi forest camp. All the six elephants, ferried in different trucks, reached their first stop in Mysore, Aranya Bhavan at Ashokapuram later in the day.

They will be offered traditional welcome at Aranya Bhavan on August 16, before marching towards the palace where they will camp till the Jamboo Savari on October 4.

‘Gajapooja’ was performed to the elephants by a group of priests led by Prahlad Rao. This was followed by the offering of ‘kadubu’ (sweetmeat), sugarcane, jaggery and banana to the pachyderms. Flower petals were showered on the elephants by a posse of dignitaries, led by Revenue and district incharge Minister V Sreenivas Prasad, marking the completion of rituals.

The usual grandeur associated with the event all these years, ever since it started in 1992, was missing. Compared to the previous years, the crowd was also thin this time.
In keeping with tradition, a priest from the palace performed pooja to Lord Anjaneya at the temple in Veeranahosahalli forest.

The temple, located at the entrance of Veeranahosahalli, is believed to be sacred for the royals, who (since the time of erstwhile rulers) paid obeisance at the temple, before the elephants departed towards the city for Dasara festival.

Following the death of Wadiyar, the pooja this time was performed in the name of Goddess Chamundeshwari, the deity of the royal family, said palace priest Narendra. The rituals included ‘Durga Parayana’, ‘Devishakti Parayana’ and ‘Vishnu Parayana’.

Pramodadevi Wadiyar, the wife of Srikantadatta, had sent eight bunches of banana, 30 pieces of jaggery and sugarcane for the pooja, the priest added.

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