Dasara fervour begins with 'Gajapayana'

Folk artistes perform as caparisoned elephants begin their journey to Mysuru, at Veeranahosahalli in Hunsur taluk on Thursday. dh photo

With Gajapayana on Thursday, the journey of Dasara elephants from forests to Mysuru city, festive fervour begins for Dasara-2019. Dasara will commence on September 29 and concludes on October 8 with the Jamboo Savari.

Gajapayana, the first leg of Naada Habba, commenced at Veeranahosahalli, the entry point of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in Hunsur taluk, after puja at Anjaneya temple. Out of 14 Dasara elephants, the first batch of six — Arjuna, Abhimanyu, Varalakshmi, Dhananjaya, Vijaya and Eshwara, a first-time participant — are part of Gajapayana.

Hundreds of people, including tribals and Mysuru city corporators, witnessed the Gajapayana. As the priests chanted shlokas, folk artistes danced to music played in the background. Jaggery, sugarcane and coconuts were offered to the jumbos. Following the puja, the elephants walked for a few meters. Later, the elephants were transported to Mysuru in separate trucks. The jumbos will be shifted to Mysuru Palace premises on August 26 and another batch of elephants will join them later.

Ministers R Ashoka and V Somanna, MLA S A Ramdas, Mayor Pushpalatha Jagannath, Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G Sankar and others showered flower petals on the elephants, signalling the journey. Mahouts and kavadis of the elephants were honoured in a stage programme.

Oppn MLAs, MPs stay away Congress and JD(S) MLAs stayed away from Gajapayana. Even BJP MPs V Srinivas Prasad and Pratap Simha did not attend the Gajapayana.

Except BJP MLAs S A Ramdas, L Nagendra, C S Niranjankumar (Gundlupet), no other MLA from the region was present. Veeranahosahalli comes under Hunsur Assembly segment represented by disqualified MLA A H Vishwanath, who is in Delhi.

Zilla Panchayat members accused the district administration and the Forest department of not inviting them for the programme.

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