Dasara elephants return to forest camps

After a stay of over a month together, families of mahouts, kavadis depart with heavy heart

Dasara elephants return to forest camps

The Dasara elephants, which had been camping on the premises of the Amba Vilas Palace since over a month, returned to their respective camps in forests on Sunday following the successful completion of the Jamboo Savari and other rituals related with the festival.

As lorries, meant to transport the elephants, arrived on the premises of the Palace, mahouts and kavadis and their families made arrangements for their journey, back home.

While the priest offered the customary puja for the elephants, Deputy Conservator of Forests Karikalan broke an ashgourd on which camphor was lit.

Abhimanyu played the good Samaritan by helping his fellow elephants to get on to their respective lorries. While he pushed a few reluctant elephants from behind, he literally pulled Kenchambha, the debutant Dasara elephant, into the lorry.

Gopalaswamy, who had created problems due to his reluctance to mount the lorry last year, was more accommodative this year. He followed the orders of the mahout, after showing some resistance.

While the Dasara elephants were being transported in lorries, the five Palace elephants, which had been teethered besides, were watching in silence. One of them was nodding its head till the lorries disappeared, even as the others were munching on their food.

The families of mahouts and kavadis packed their belongings and left for their respective camps, along with their elephants, with heavy hearts.

Kavadi Ashok said he has been coming for the Dasara since 11 years and he and his family members feel good as they get to meet their fellow elephant staff from various camps.

“All our children study and play together for over one month and all of us live here like one big family. The separation is inevitable as we have to return to our camps. We look forward to the next Dasara to meet them all again,” he said.

Abhimanyu, Balarama and Gopalaswamy will return to Thithimathi camp in Virajpet taluk; Vikram Kaveri, Prashanth, Gopi and Harsha to Dubare in Somwarpet taluk; Arjuna to Balle in H D Kote taluk; Chaithra to Bandipur; Durgaparameshwari to K Gudi; and Kenchambha to Cauvery Nisargadhama.

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