Second batch of five Dasara elephants scheduled to arrive in Mysuru on Sept. 25; three debutants in team
Mysore/Mysuru: Abhimanyu, the lead elephant for the Dasara festival, set out on his weight training journey yesterday afternoon. He embarked on the Jumboo Savari route, carrying a total weight of 600 kg including sandbags. Remarkably, he covered the distance from Mysore Palace to Bannimantap in just one hour and five minutes.
This successful weight training session has paved the way for other elephants destined to carry the Golden Howdah (Ambari) in future Jumboo Savari processions. Dhananjaya, Mahendra, Gopi and Bheema, among others, will soon undergo similar training.
Abhimanyu’s training involved carrying a combined weight of 600 kg, comprising 400 kg of sandbags, 200 kg Gaadhi-Namdha, ropes and a cradle-like structure that held the sandbags.
Before commencing the training, a puja was performed at the Kodi Someshwara Temple within the Palace premises for Abhimanyu, along with Kumki elephants Varalakshmi and Vijaya.
Other elephants, such as Arjuna, Dhananjaya, Gopi, Bheema, Mahendra and Kankan, were also present for the Pada Puja ceremony, during which ‘Arishina-Kumkuma’ was sprinkled at the elephants’ feet, and they were treated to ‘Pancha Phala’ (five fruits). Afterward, a 200-kg Gaadhi-Namdha and the cradle were secured onto Abhimanyu’s back using leather strips and ropes, with a cradle-like structure placed on top. 400 kg of sandbags were then positioned inside the cradle mounted on Abhimanyu.
The elephant team familiarised themselves with the crane used to load the Ambari onto Abhimanyu before commencing the procession. The elephants paid their respects in front of Pramoda Devi Wadiyar’s residence before starting the march.
The procession began at 2.01 pm from the Balarama Gate near Kote Anjaneyaswamy Temple. The Dasara elephants were led to the Torchlight Parade Grounds in Bannimantap via K.R. Circle, Sayyaji Rao Road, Government Ayurveda Hospital Circle, Bamboo Bazar, Old RMC Circle, Moulana Abul Kalam Azad Circle (Highway Circle) and Nelson Mandela Road, arriving at the Torchlight Parade Grounds at 3.06 pm. As a precaution, a jeep equipped with a magnetic rod led the way, scanning for sharp metal objects like nails and screws that could harm the Dasara elephants.
This marked the first time the elephants walked the procession route in the afternoon; typically, such training is conducted in the morning and evening. Spectators lined the road on both sides to witness the majestic march of the nine elephants.
The next stage of training will involve placing a wooden howdah weighing 350 kg on Abhimanyu, with sandbags gradually added until the total weight reaches 750 kg, equivalent to the Golden Howdah’s weight.
Upon reaching the Torchlight Parade Grounds, the elephants were given fodder, water and allowed to rest. The sandbags were removed from Abhimanyu, granting him a well-deserved break. Mahouts and Kavadis were provided with lunch. The return journey to the Palace took just 45 minutes. Officials reported that the first batch of nine Dasara elephants is in good health and follows a nutritious diet. They are adapting well to the training and the presence of crowds along the Jumboo Savari route.
The second batch of five Dasara jumbos — Rohit and Hiranya from Rampura Elephant Camp, Lakshmi from Doddaharave Camp, along with Sugreeva and Prashantha — is scheduled to arrive in Mysuru on Sept. 25. This will bring the total number of participating elephants to 14.
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