Dasara jumbos to enter Palace today

Pachyderms will be given ceremonious welcome at Aranya Bhavan

Following several arduous operations in various parts of Hassan, Mysore and Chamarajanagar districts, which included the elephant capture operation in Alur taluk and tiger capture operations at H D Kote and Gundlupet taluks, Dasara elephants will arrive at the Amba Vilas premises today.

Though the tradition of welcoming the Dasara elephants at Jayamarthanda Gate of the Palace will not be held this year, owing to the period of mourning being observed by Wadiyar family, the jumbos will be offered a ceremonious welcome at Aranya Bhavan in the city. Following the ceremony, the elephants will be taken on a procession from Aranya Bhavan to the Palace.

The elephants, which reached Mysore on Thursday evening, are hale and healthy, said V Karikalan, Deputy Conservator of Forests.

“Even though Dasara elephants have taken part in several operations since last Dasara, they are healthy. Department veterinarians are regularly checking the condition of pachyderms. Reports regarding the same has been encouraging,” he said.

He said that official weighing of the elephants, before elephants are provided a special diet, will be held next week. “After we start special ration arrangements for the elephants, they gain weight up to 500 kg,” he said.

Arrangements

He said that accomodation arrangement for mahouts and kavadis are being made inside the Palace premises. Following complaints that the sheds built were cramped, the department has decided to increase the dimensions of the sheds.

Karikalan said that the sheds constructed would be water proof, so that the families of mahouts and kavadis will not have to face any problem if it rains, he said.

He said that apart from 12 mahouts and kavadis, their family members too will be accomodated at the Palace premises. About 25 family members of mahouts and kavadis have already arrived in the city and have been accomodated at Aranya Bhavan.

Jumbos profile

Arjuna: The elephant has been tasked with the job of carrying Golden Howdah during Jamboo Savari the last leg of Dasara consistently from the last two years since 2012, for the third year in a row.

He is aged 54 years, weighs between 5,000 and 5,100 kg, is 2.95 metres tall, and belongs to Balle Elephant camp. He was captured during the khedda operation in 1968 at Kakanakote Forest.

Balarama: The elephant is considered as howdah veteran for having performed the arduous task of carrying the Golden Howdah with ease, for 13 years in a row. In 2012, Arjuna succeeded Balarama for the job. Now, Balarama performs the duty of ‘Nishaane’ elephant.

However, Balarama has the credit of participating in the festival from the past 18 years. He succeeded the then howdah carrier Drona, the elephant that met his tragic death. He is aged 56 years, weighs between 4,850 kg and 4,950 kg, is 2.7 metres tall, and belongs to Thitimathi Elephant Camp.

Abhimanyu: The elephant is mostly used in the operations to capture rogue elephants and taming them in the forest camps later. It has been participating in the festival from 15 years and has been pulling the ‘Aane Gaadi’, carrying the Palace Band during Jamboo Savari. He is aged 48 years, weighs between 4,550 kg and 4,650 kg, is 2.68 metres tall and also belongs to Thitimathi Elephant Camp.

Mary: The elephant was captured during the khedda operation at Kakanakote forest way back in the year 1977. She was earlier used by the Forest department to transport timber. She has nearly a decade long experience of participating in the festival. She is aged 58 years, is 2.47 metres tall, weighs between 3,000 kg and 3,180 kg, and belongs to Thitimati Elephant Camp.

Varalakshmi: The elephant was captured during the khedda operation at Kakanakote forest way back in 1977. She has participated in the festival nine times. She is aged 59 years, is 2.46 metres tall, weighs between 3,250 and 3,325 kg, and belongs to Thitimati Elephant Camp.

Gajendra:  A contemporary of Balarama, Gajendra has been a regular at the festival from the last 17 years. He has been assigned the job of ‘Pattada Aane’.  He is also equally experienced in taming the rogue elephants. He was captured in Kattepura Forest in Kodagu district during 1987. He is aged 59 years, is 2.94 metres tall, weighs between 4,420 kg  and 4,560 kg, and belongs to K Gudi elephant camp.

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