Dasara elephants kept waiting at Aranya Bhavan

Dasara elephants kept waiting at Aranya Bhavan

Jumbos to be welcomed at Palace premises tomorrow

The Dasara elephants, camping at Aranya Bhavan, which were supposed to be welcomed to the premises of Amba Vilas Palace on Monday, have been kept waiting in the wake of a meeting of people’s representatives and officials, convened by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru.

Deputy Commissioner C Shikha, speaking to Deccan Herald from Bengaluru, said the ceremony of welcoming the elephants has been rescheduled to September 9. “As the chief minister convened a meeting in the capital to discuss about the comprehensive development of the city, specifically the proposed Master Plan that includes Nanjanud on Monday, the ceremony had to be postponed,” she said.

Navaratri is scheduled to begin on October 14 and Jamboo Savari, the piece-de-resistance falls on October 23.

The first batch of six elephants — howdah elephant Arjuna, Balarama, Abhimanyu, Vikrama, Cauvery and Chaitra — arrived in Mysuru on September 4. They had left their respective camps in Chamarajanagar and Kodagu districts on the same day.

While Arjuna came from Balle elephant camp, Vikrama and Cauvery were ferried from Dubare. Balarama and Abhimanyu were transported from Thithimathi and Chaitra from Bandipur. Unlike previous years, there was no ‘Gaja Payana’, the programme held with much fanfare to mark the journey of the elephants from the woods at Veeranahosahalli, under Nagarahole National Park.

The second batch of six more elephants — Harsha, Gopi and Prashantha from Dubare; Kenchamba from Cauvery Dhama; Durga Parameshwari from Biligiriranganatha (BRT); and Gopalaswamy from Thithimathi — are expected soon. Kenchamba, 21, the female elephant, is participating in Dasara for the first time. It was captured during an operation against rogue elephants at Alur, Hassan district, in March last year.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Deputy Conservator of Forests V Karikalan said, the Forest Department is ever ready to transport the Dasara elephants to the premises of the Palace. “We are only awaiting the directions from the Dasara Executive Committee,” he added.

In reply to a query, he said the elephants are healthy and they have been shortlisted and shifted for the Dasara celebrations based on a general health check-up and issuance of fitness certificates by veterinary doctors.

“The rain in the evening hours since a couple of days have cheered the elephants up. The grooming for the Jamboo Savari will start once they are weighed. Besides, rehearsal of the route of the carnival, the elephants will be put on special diet for the purpose,” he said.

He said hundreds of people are visiting Aranya Bhavan everyday to have a glimpse of the rare guests.

“Even though entry of vehicles has been restricted at Aranya Bhavan, people do not mind walking up to the enclosure of the pachyderms for the rare sight. Once the first batch is shifted to the Palace, a decision will be taken on transporting the second batch,” he said.

However, sources said, the government does not have any intention of bringing the second batch of elephants to the city as Dasara this year will be a simple affair in the wake of drought and a series of suicides by farmers.

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