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Dasara elephants arrival marks Dasara preparations

The first batch of six elephants, headed by majestic Balarama, arrived in Mysore on September 7 and were received at the Palace Main Gate, the Jayamarthanda entrance, with traditional welcome.

Their arrival marks the beginning of the preparations for the historic 10-day celebrations for which Mysore is famous since many centuries. Leaving their forest dwellings at the Nagarahole Wildlife Sanctuary on September 6 in trucks, the six elephants arrived at the Palace premises, after a overnight stay at the ‘Aranya Bhavan’, the official headquarters of the Forest Department in Mysore. Mysore District Incharge Minister G.T.Deve Gowda, Kannada and Culture Minister H.S.Mahadeva Prasad and officials received the pachyderms. They had been given a similar farewell at Veeranahosahally in Hunsur taluk, 70 kms off Mysore. Balarama

Forty-nine-year-old Balarama will carry the 750-kg golden howdah this year also for the seventh year in succession in the Vijaya Dasami procession on October 21. The tusker was captured in 1987 in the Kodagu forest of Thittimatti. This will be his 13th attendance in the Dasara, having participated a dozen times in the previous years. Forty-year-old Bharatha, the youngest of the team, accompanied Balarama. Bharatha is expected to succeed Balarama. He has participated in the celebrations on nine occasions. Caught in 1969, Arjuna is the third tusker in the team. He is 48 years of age. He has carried the howdah once after Drona. Gajendra (52) has participated 11 times. He is the sacred elephant and receives worship during the festivities.

ArjunaThe two female pachyderms accompanied their male counterparts. They were Revathi (53), who has been participating since eight years regularly and Varalakshmi (52) with five years of Dasara experience. Revathi was captured in 1962 in Thitimatti forest, while Varalakshmi in 1977 in Kakanakote forest.

The second batch of six more jumbos are - Srirama, Abhimanyu, Harsha, Vikram, Sarala and Vijaya will be the six elephants. All the dozen elephants will find a temporary shelter within the Palace Fort walls. They will have regular practice marches on the procession route, the Sayaji Rao Road.

Image courtesy - Information and Publicity Department, Government of Karnataka

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