Karnataka

Gajapayana: Dasara elephants begin journey from jungle camps to Mysuru

Special prayers being conducted ahead of the Gajapayana at Veeranahosahalli in Hunsur taluk of Mysuru district on Sunday.

Special prayers being conducted ahead of the Gajapayana at Veeranahosahalli in Hunsur taluk of Mysuru district on Sunday. | Photo Credit: SRIRAM M A

The first batch of nine caparisoned elephants that will take part in the Mysuru Dasara from September 26 to October 5 began their journey from Veeranahosahalli on the outskirts of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve to the city on Sunday.

Signaling the countdown to the famed 10-day festival for which Mysuru is renowned, the elephants led by the tusker Abhimanyu embarked on Gajapayana, their stately march from the jungle camps to the city of palaces.

The nine elephants led by Abhimanyu, who is slated to carry the golden howdah during the Jamboo Savari on Vijayadashami, were offered special prayers to mark the occasion.

During the days of the maharajas, Gajapayana entailed the elephants march on foot from the jungles to Mysuru — a distance of more than 70 km — ahead of Dasara. But the ritual was discontinued and revived about 20 years ago. However, in the present times, it is symbolic and the caparisoned elephants — which arrive from various jungle camps to Veeranahosahalli in Hunsur taluk of Mysuru district beforehand — cover a short distance on foot after which they are transported to Mysuru by trucks.

Forest Minister Umesh Katti, district in-charge Minister S.T. Somashekar, and other elected representatives took part in the rituals and special prayers conducted for the elephants between 9.01 a.m. and 9.35 a.m.

Caprisoned elephants on the march at Veeranahosahlli in Hunsur taluk of Mysuru district on Sunday as part of the Gajapayana ceremony.

Caprisoned elephants on the march at Veeranahosahlli in Hunsur taluk of Mysuru district on Sunday as part of the Gajapayana ceremony. | Photo Credit: SRIRAM MA

March of the elephants

Apart from Abhimanyu, the other elephants of the first batch are Arjuna, Dhananjaya, Mahendra, Bhima, Chaitra, Gopalswamy, Kaveri, and Lakshmi. The priest chanted hymns and performed ‘’mangalaarati’’ for their safety and collective welfare of the society and this was preceded by ceremonial welcome of the elephants with ‘’Poornakumbha’’.

Prayers completed, the caparisoned elephants began their march with the accompaniment of cultural and folk troupes coupled with ensemble of traditional musicians playing nadaswara and beating drums in the backdrop.

MLA Manjunath, MLC A.H. Vishwanath, Deputy Commissioner Bagadi Gautham, Superintendent of Police Chetan, ZP CEO Poornima, Deputy Conservator of Forests V. Karikalan, and others were present.

The elephants will be accorded a ceremonial reception at the palace main gate on August 10 and the herd will camp in the palace grounds till the conclusion of the festival. In the interim, the elephants will be subjected to rehearsal daily so as to familiarise them with the procession route and get them accustomed to the din and noise of the city.

The second batch of elephants comprising Srirama, Vijaya, Parthasarthy, Vikrama, and Gopi will join Abhimanyu and team in the next few days.


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Printable version | Aug 22, 2022 8:13:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/gajapayana-dasara-elephants-begin-journey-from-jungle-camps-to-mysuru/article65740430.ece