Dasara jumbos get food booster to ready them for D-day

Fatter the better

A kaavadi gives special food to a Dasara elephant on the Palace premises in Mysuru.

The Dasara elephants, which are camping on Mysuru Palace premises, are put under special and nutritious diet, to keep them physically fit and healthy.

The elephants are a major attraction of the Dasara festivities, especially Jamboo Savari, on the day of Vijayadashami, scheduled for October 8 this time. The elephants, led by the howdah elephant, will go in a procession, between Mysuru Palace and Bannimantap. This time too, Arjuna is likely to carry the golden howdah, weighing 750 kg, on its back during the procession.

The special food consists of urad dal, green gram, wheat, boiled rice, vegetables, rice, groundnut, coconut, jaggery, butter and ragi balls. The regular diet is hay, jaggery, paddy, coconut and cattle feed. In addition, vegetables, green grass, and banyan leaves are served to the elephants. According to the authorities, not all elephants consume butter. It is served to only those which consume it.

The food is served twice a day — morning and evening. While regular food is served before rehearsal, the elephants get the special food once they complete the session. The elephants march from the palace to Bannimantap, daily, as rehearsal.

The food is prepared under special care by mahouts and kaavadis. The preparation is monitored by forest officials and veterinarians to ensure safety.

Each elephant consumes about 20 kg of nutritious food and Arjuna will be given 35-30 kg of special food, at a time.

During their stay in Mysuru, elephants gain weight, owing to the diet. The second batch of six jumbos - Vikram, Durgaparameshwari, Kaveri, Gopi and first time participants Jayaprakash and Lakshmi - has joined the first batch.

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