Monday, January 14, 2002
Dasara Elephants in Mysore
The first batch of five elephants for participating in the Dasara
procession, Jamboo Savari, has arrived in Mysore.
The elephants led by the chief tusker, Balarama, are undergoing training with daily acclimatization march along the procession route - Palace to Bannimantap Parade Grounds.
The 43-year-old Balarama had recently escaped into the forest in Nagarahole forest area after developing 'musth'. With only a few days left for the Dasara, the panic forest officials caught him two days later in the forest.
He and four other jumbos had a ride in a truck from their respective elephant camps to Mysore accompanied by their mahouts.
After a day's rest at the Aranya Bhavan, the Mysore headquarters of the Forest Department,
the five pachyderms were shifted to the Palace premises, for their daily acclimatization. Besides Balarama, the other tusker in this batch is 34-year-old Bharatha. The two are having the company of three females - Kanthi (62), Gayathri (48) and Kokila (56).
They were given a ceremonial welcome with Pooja, garlands, sugarcane and jaggery by the senior officials of Mysore.
The second batch of elephants to take part in the low-key Dasara this year will be joining their five team mates in the first week of October.
Sri Rama, Abhimanyu, Gajendra, Biligiriranga, Vikram, Varalakshmi and Sarojini are the seven elephants coming.
Of the dozen elephants, Balarama will be the star attraction as he will carry on his back for the fourth year the sacred idol of Goddess Chamundeswari
in the 800-kg golden howdah on the auspicious 10th day of Dasara celebrations commencing from October 17.
Caught in 1990 in the Kattepura forest, Balarama has since taken part in the Dasara procession eight times, carrying the golden howdah thrice.
Bharata, trapped in 1987, also caught in the Kattepura forest range, has been participating in the procession since 1998.
Seasoned Kokila has the distinction of taking part in the Dasara procession 11 times. She was trapped in the famous forest, Kakanakote.
The eldest of the five pachyderms Kanthi (62), trapped in the Khedda forest in 1968, has attended the Dasara nine times.
Gayathri has been a participant for the last four years since 1977.
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