Dasara Dozen jumbos for Dasara 05
The ball for 2005 Dasara was set in motion on September 5 with six of the dozen elephants arriving in Mysore City.
The decorated elephants - four male and two female - were given a traditional welcome when they arrived at the Mysore Palace main gate. Labour and Wakf Minister Tanvir Sait, who is the Mysore district minister, received the six jumbos offering sugarcane and jaggery to them, while the Chamundi Hill chief priest Nagendra Dikshit performed pooja as the Police Bund played the musical instruments.
The six elephants - Balarama, Bharatha, Gajendra, Prashanth (all male) and Kanthi and Revathi (female) - marched towards the Elephant Gate of the main structure of the Palace after the royal welcome. Later, they moved to the temporary elephant stables inside the Palace Fort, where they will stay till the Dasara concludes.
For the first time, a massive colour Rangoli was drawn in the foreground of the 'Aane Bagilu' (Elephant Gate) and decorated with flowers.
Besides, the Minister, Mysore Mayor Bharathi, MLC T.N.Manjunath, Deputy Commissioner S. Selva Kumar, Mysore City Corporation Commissioner A.B.Ibrahim, Police Commissioner Praveen Sood, District Conservator of Forests Shreekantaiah, and others were present.
The six elephants were earlier brought in trucks from Veeranahosahalli of Hunsur taluk, where they were seen off to Mysore in a similar traditional manner on September 1.
The elephants' brief CV is as follows:
Balarama: Balarama will have the honour of carrying the 750 kg golden howdah with another 250 kg. dressings in the Dasara procession on October 13, the Vijaya Dasami day. He is replacing Arjuna, who fails to co-operate in the task of carrying the howdah. Exhibiting sudden anger, the tusker becomes difficult to be handled even by experienced mahuts. He has already earned the bad reputation of having killed two persons.
2.7 meter tall 47-year-old Balarama has been participating in the Dasara since eleven years and has already carried the howdah five times. He was caught in Kodagu district Kattepura forest in 1987. With extra nouringing food, he will be made fit for the majestic walk with a 1,000-kg load on his back in the camp in Mysore.
Bharata: Taller by 0.20 meter to Balarama, Bharata is being groomed next in order for the coveted post of Howdha elephant or the 'Ambari' elephant. 38-year-old junior-most among the Dasara elephants, Bharata was also captured in the Kattepura forest in 1987. He is 2.90 meter tall.
Gajendra: Also caught from the same forest, Gajendra aged 50 stands 2.80 meter tall. He was captured in 1987 and has participated nine times in the procession since then.
Prashanth: Another tusker Prashanth is participating in the celebrations since three years. He is 49 and was captured in 1993 in the Karekoppa forest.
Kanthi: The oldest of the team, Kanthi is 66 years old. She has taken part a dozen times in the Dasara since 1968, when she was captured in the famous Kakanakote forest of H.D.Kote.
Revathi: The second female elephant in the first batch is aged 51 and has taken part in the Dasara seven times so far. She was captured in the Thitimathi forest of Kodagu in 1962.
The second batch of six more elephants will be arriving in Mysore from different forests in the first week of October. The batch comprises Srirama, Abhimanyu, Harsha, Vikram, Mary and Vijaya-four male and two female.