He was kind and affectionate towards them, says palace mahout

The late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the scion of the Mysore royal family, had a strong attachment to the animals housed in the surroundings of the Mysore palace, particularly to the six elephants.

The animals, which included horses, cows and camels, had an important role to play in the Dasara celebrations.

Whenever Wadiyar visited Mysore (he mainly stayed in Bangalore), he made sure that he took a look at the elephants.

He was very fond of them and used to ask the mahouts and kavadis to take care of them properly.

The grief-stricken staff in charge of the palace elephants are yet to come to terms that the ‘Mahaswami’, as they addressed Wadiyar, is no more.

Pasha, one of the mahouts, recalls: “One day, I inadvertently hit the elephant which the Mahaswami saw. He was so caring about animals that he immediately rebuked me and advised me to treat animals with compassion.”

Pasha has been working as a mahout at the palace for the last 13 years. He is from Kakanakote forest in H.D. Kote taluk. His grandfather too was a mahout for one of the palace elephants around 50 years ago.

“Mahaswami used to advise us with regard to care and management of elephants. My elephant had a wound on its neck during the previous Dasara. I told Mahaswami about the wound when he came to see the animals. He immediately asked his staff to bring veterinarians and ensured that it was treated. He was kind and affectionate towards the animals,” he said.

There are 11 people working as mahouts and kavadis at the palace. They are Ashok, Idayat Sharif, Shafi, Kalappa, Masthi, Raju, Afzal, Putta, Amjad and Sadiq. They expressed similar opinions about Wadiyar’s affection for animals.

The animals that take part in the Dasara celebrations are addressed as ‘Pattada Ane’, ‘Pattada Hasu’, ‘Pattada Kudure’.

There are around 30 cows, five horses and five camels at the palace.

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