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Dasara elephants get rousing reception

Staff Correspondent
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First batch of six pachyderms reaches Mysore palace

Dasara elephants arriving at Mysore palace on Friday. — Photo: M.A. SRIRAM
Dasara elephants arriving at Mysore palace on Friday. — Photo: M.A. SRIRAM

The first batch of six Dasara elephants led by tusker Arjuna was accorded a traditional welcome at Mysore palace on Friday.

The elephants, Arjuna, Balarama, Gajendra, Abhimanyu, Sarala and Varalakshmi, which arrived here from the jungle camps on Wednesday, were resting at Aranya Bhavan.

Amid the ensemble of musicians and the police band playing traditional music, the caparisoned elephants, accompanied by mahouts and kavadis, entered the main courtyard of the palace where women showered flower petals on them from atop the palace building. They acknowledged the gesture by raising their trunks.

There was a festive ambience at the palace with the arrival of the gentle giants signalling the beginning of the Dasara season.

The six elephants, which hail from different jungle camps, will stay on the palace premises till the completion of the festivities. They will be subjected to rigorous training and will be made familiar with the 4.5-km long procession route and the crowds, for the Jamboo Savari.

The six elephants were received at Jayamarthanda Gate of the palace when they arrived from Aranya Bhavan at 12.30 p.m.

Minister in-charge of Mysore district V. Sreenivas Prasad, MLAs, MLCs, Deputy Commissioner C. Shikha, Regional Commissioner M.V. Jayanthi, Police Commissioner M.A. Saleem, Superintendent of Police Abhinav Khare and Chief Conservator of Forests K.B. Markandaiah were present.

After the rituals, the elephants, led by Arjuna, which carried the 750-kg golden howdah last year, moved into the palace. The elephants marched towards their camp on the palace premises after a photo session at the main courtyard.

The second batch of six more elephants is expected to join them in the next two weeks. In all, 12 elephants will participate in the Jamboo Savari with the lead tusker carrying the golden howdah.

Forest veterinarian Nagaraj, who is known among the tribal families as the “elephant doctor”, told The Hindu that training for elephants is likely to begin on Wednesday.

Monitoring

Dr. Nagaraj, who is in charge of the Dasara elephants, said the elephants will be kept on a special diet from Saturday. They will be monitored by a team of veterinarians. All the six will undergo training under the watchful eyes of their mahouts and kavadis.

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