14 jumbos chosen for Dasara tasks

Forest Dept. to finalise number of elephants for this year’s Jamboo Savari as per govt. instructions

August 25, 2021 10:40 pm | Updated November 22, 2021 09:50 pm IST - MYSURU

Tusker Abhimanyu, which carried the golden howdah last year, at its forest camp.

Tusker Abhimanyu, which carried the golden howdah last year, at its forest camp.

Even as the State government was mulling over celebrating this year’s Mysuru Dasara in a simple manner in view of the prevailing pandemic, the Forest Department has done its job of identifying 14 elephants for the Dasara tasks.

Though it is not finalised how many elephants would actually be used in the Jamboo Savari this year, elephants from four elephant camps have been identified and the list will be placed before the department’s meeting here shortly for shortlisting them based on government orders.

Last year, five elephants, including howdah elephant Abhimanyu and its two companions, had taken part in the Dasara procession that was confined to the palace premises in view of the low-key Dasara. The department has proposed to keep at least two to three elephants as standby this year.

Forest veterinarians have certified the health of 14 elephants, including 11 males and three female jumbos, and all of them are said to be fit and in good health for the ensuing tasks.

The 14 elephants identified include Abhimanyu, Gopalaswamy, two jumbos named Bheema, and Magendra, all from Mattigodu camp in Nagarahole; Vijaya and Vikrama from Ane Kadu in Kodagu; Dhananjaya, Prashantha, Gopi, Harsha, Lakshmana, and Kaveri from Dubare in Kodagu, and Chaitra from Bandipur.

“Once finalised, we will make arrangements for the elephants’ journey to Mysuru, mahouts and kavadis, their stay, tenders for supplying feeds to elephants in Mysuru and so on,” said K. Karikalan, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Mysuru. He said 95% of the mahouts and kavadis had been vaccinated and all necessary precautions would be taken in view of the pandemic situation. “We will ensure vaccinated staff (at least one dose) accompany elephants to Mysuru,” the DCF added.


The Forest Department is also readying the second line young tuskers for the roles being performed by the aging elephants, including Abhimanyu, who is 57-and-half year old.

Arjuna’s heir

Abhimanyu was chosen as the lead elephant last year as it was considered the right choice as Arjuna’s heir. Besides jumbos like Gajendra, Srirama, Vikrama and Harsha, other young jumbos like Dhananjaya, Gopalaswamy and Gopi are said to be in focus.

These elephants possess the skills to capture wild elephants besides adding grandeur to the festivities every year. Abhimanyu is considered an “all-rounder” because of its expertise in tracking the target jumbo. Subduing wild elephants without these six tuskers becomes tough as they promptly obey the instructions of their masters and perform the job with finesse.

Abhimanyu is best known for its astuteness in the operations for capturing errant elephants and aged and injured wild tigers straying out of forests.

The strong point on why Abhimanyu got the call last year was its experience as a Dasara jumbo for two decades and the weight carrying training it undergoes every year as a standby for Jamboo Savari.


Arjuna had taken over from Balarama which had carried the howdah for 13 years in a row before attaining superannuation from the role of lead elephant. Prior to Jamboo Savari, the lead elephant undergoes weight carrying training with sandbags and a wooden replica of the howdah having the same mass as ‘Ambari’ on its back as a part of rehearsal for the big day.

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