Even as 14 elephants have been shortlisted for this year’s Dasara festivities, three new jumbos are expected to debut at Jamboo Savari this year in line with the vision for preparing the second line of jumbos for the elite Dasara squad.
In addition to the veterans, including the howdah tusker Abhimanyu, Dasara jumbos have been picked up from five different elephant camps after looking into various factors, for joining the Dasara duty which is expected to commence from the second week of this month.
A formal announcement from the Dasara Executive Committee is awaited for the elephants to arrive in Mysuru with the Forest Department making arrangements for bringing the jumbos to Mysuru and also for the mahouts’, kavadis’ and their family members’ stay on the palace premises.
With this year’s Dasara going to be held on a grand scale after two years of low-key festivities owing to pandemic, the mahouts and the kavadis’ family members too have been permitted to come along with them and stay in Mysuru until the conclusion of the festivities.
While Gajapayana has been finalised to be conducted on August 7, the jumbos’ entry into the palace is scheduled on August 10. However, an official announcement is expected to be done in a day or two by the Executive Committee although the dates are almost certain.
When contacted, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mysuru, Karikalan said the first batch of nine elephants, led by Abhimanyu, will set off on the journey to Mysuru to start the training for the Jamboo Savari. A few days later, the second batch will arrive to commence the full-fledged rehearsal.
“Fourteen jumbos have been shortlisted and the list has been submitted to the government. The elephants are from Dubare, Thithimathi, Anekadu, Balle and Harave. Among 14, a decision will be taken later on how many will be part of the festivities based on their training. We keep the standby but 12 may be part of it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the work on establishing 42 sheds for housing the elephants, mahouts and kavadis and their family members on the palace premises has commenced.
The trucks for the transportation of elephants from Veeranahosahalli forests after the Gajapayana has also been finalised besides the tenders for the special ration, fodder and other materials.
When asked whether the mahouts and kavadis’ demands for higher salaries ahead of the festivities would cause any inconvenience to the preparations, Mr. Karikalan said he cannot comment on the issue. “The department will look into the matter,” he replied.