Mysuru: Elephant which carries 750kg golden howdah during dasara procession plays an important role during the resplendent celebration. Keeping this in mind, the forest department is focusing on second generation of elephants as seven of its 15 Dasara elephants have crossed 55 years of age.
For the forthcoming dasara, which is scheduled from September 21 to 30, 15 elephants including three new elephants got approval from Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Bengaluru. Last year 12 elephants took part in the dasara celebration.
V Yelukondalu, DCF (Wildlife) said, “Our Dasara elephants are growing old and they should ideally retire at the age of 65. Hence, it is imperative for us to keep the second generation of elephants ready for the task. With this idea we have roped in three new faces- Krishna, Bheema, and Drona for this year’s dasara. Apart from these three new elephants there are three other elephants in the woods-Eshwara, Ajaya and Dhananjaya who fulfill all criteria to be part of dasara. If any of these veteran champion elephants retire, they may get a nod.”
There is lots to be done before the new naive elephants walk with the veterans. They first need to get accustomed to crowd, cannons and other practice. Hence the training has begun.
As far as, 57-year-old Arjuna is concerned, he had successfully carried 750kg golden howdah last year and looks fit enough to be the centre of attraction even for next few years. But still, 51-year-old Abhimanyu is being kept ready as plan-B, in case of emergency.
Drona , Gopi and Gopalswamy are also getting groomed. Arjuna, Balarama, Gopalswamy, Cauvery, Vikrama, Abhimanyu, Vijaya, Gajendra, Prashantha, Gopi and Harsha are the elephants retained from last year’s list.
Pachyderms to have fruit diet!
The diet of the Dasara elephants needs extra care so as to facilitate good digestion and health. Now, for the first time, fruits have been added to their diet plan. Each elephant will be fed four to five kgs of fruits per day to add vitamins and minerals to their diet and to help in better digestion.
Know more about 15 dasara elephants
12 Male elephants:
*Arjuna: Male, 57-year-old (5000 kg) from Balle Elephant Camp. Since 2012, he is carrying 750 kg golden howdah. Mahout Sannappa (Mahesh), son of Dodda Masti.
* Balarama: Male, 59-year-old (4850 kg) from Thitimathi Elephant Camp. He is taking part in Dasara activites from last 20 years and has carried golden howdah 14 times. Mahout Thimma, Kavadi Gopal.
* Abhimanyu: Male, 51-year-old (4550 kg) from Thitimathi Elephant Camp. He is part of Dasara activities from the last 18 years. Mahout Vasanth and Kavadi Raju
* Gajendra: Male, 61-year-old (4420 kg) from K Gudi Elephant Camp. He has been taking part in Dasara activites from last 17 years. Mahout Shankar and Kavadi Sunil.
*Gopalswamy: Male, 35-year-old (3242kg) from Mathigowdu elephant camp, He has been taking part in Dasara procession for the last seven years. Srujan is his Mahout while Dasa is his Kavadi.
*Vikrama: Male, 44-year-old (3820kg) from Dubbare elephant, He has been taking part in Dasara procession for the last 13 years.
*Gopi: Male, 35-year-old (3710kg) from Dubbare elephant camp, He is taking part in Dasara procession for the last 7 years.
*Harsha: Male, 50-year- old (3290kg) from Dubbare elephant camp, He is taking part in Dasara procession for the last 14 years.
Three new male elephants:
*Krishna: Male, 56-years-old (4800kg) from Mathigodu Elephant Camp. Mahout Chandra and Kavadi Manu.
*Drona: Male, 35-years-old (3800kg) from Mathigodu Elephant Camp. Mahout Ravi and Kavadi Sanna.
*Bheema: Male, 17-years-old (2800kg) from MathigoduElephant Camp. Mahout Chandra and Kavadi Manu.
3 Female elephants:
* Vijaya: Female, 60-year-old (3250 kg) from K Gudi Elephant Camp. For the last 18 years she is part of Dasara. Mahout Bhojappa and Kavadi Doreyappa.
* Kaveri: Female, 39-years-old (3152 kg) from Dubare Elephant Camp. For 5th time she is taking part in dasara procession. Mahout Dobi and Kavadi Raghu.
*Varalakshmi: Female, 61-years-old (3325 kg) from Mathigodu Elephant Camp. For 8th time she is taking part in dasara procession. Mahout Gunda and Kavadi Chinna.