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| Last Updated:: 26/08/2014

Dasara elephants arrive in style



The first batch of Dasara elephants being accorded a traditional reception during Gajapayana at Nagapura on the outskirts of Nagarahole National Park in Mysore district on Thursday. Photo: M.A. Sriram



The second batch of six will join them soon


The symbolic march of elephants from the jungle camps to Mysore ahead of Dasara got under way near Nagapura on the outskirts of the Nagarahole National Park on Thursday, signalling the countdown for the festivities.


The first batch of the caparisoned elephants, led by Arjuna, which will carry the golden howdah on Vijayadashami, was accorded a traditional reception, complete with special prayers for their welfare during their 45-day sojourn in Mysore. The other elephants giving company to Arjuna are Balarama, Abhimanyu, Mary and Varalakshmi.


The elephants which were decked up in finery, including gold-plated ornaments — gifted by the State Bank of Mysore last year to mark its centenary — were a picture discipline and coordination. Not withstanding the excitement around them, with an ensemble playing traditional music, the elephants maintained their composure as is their wont and listened to the commands of the mahouts.


The priest performed an elaborate ritual, including ‘mangala aarati’ to the elephants, which was witnessed by senior Forest Department officials. Women from the adjoining villages offered a reception to the elephants with ‘kalasha’ and ‘poornakumbha’ as part of the local tradition.


District in-charge Minister V. Srinivas Prasad along with other elected representatives, Deputy Commissioner C. Shikha and senior officials of the district administration later made floral offerings to the elephants. After this, the elephants marched to their designated post, signalling the symbolic Gajapayana.


Gajapayana or the elephants’ march was a tradition during the days of the maharajas. Elephants which used to participate in the Dasara would march the entire distance from the forests in Hunsur to Mysore, covering nearly 50 km. It was discontinued after the days of the maharajas but was revived a few years ago. However, the tradition now is more symbolic as the elephants no longer march the entire distance but are transported by lorries.


Elephants are brought to Mysore about 45 days ahead of the festivities so as to acclimatise them to the city environment. They also march along the procession route during this period twice a day and familiarise themselves with the events slated for the grand finale on Vijayadashami.


The five elephants from Nagarahole were joined by Gajendra, who came from K. Gudi camp, in Mysore in the evening.


The second batch of six elephants will join them in due course.