Mysuru: The major attraction of Dasara festival, the team of elephants is all set to leave Mysuru on Sunday October 17. Forest Department will send the elephants back to their native Mathigodu and Dubare elephant camps at 9.30 am.
Speaking to News Karnataka, Deputy Conservator of Forests Karikalan said that after performing pooja, the team of elephants will be sent back to their respective camps. He said that before sending the elephants, they will be weighed as per practice. Before coming to Mysuru for Dasara, the elephants were weighed at Hunsur and while going back too they will be weighed.
The elephant team leader Abhimanyu has the credit of participating in highest number of Dasaras. He carried the golden howdah for the second year, and is very popular among all the elephants. Abhimanyu, aged 55, was captured in Hebballa of Nagarahole forest in the year 1970, and he has been participating in Dasara since 2002, continuously. Abhimanyu has also participated in capturing more than 150 elephants, and 40-50 tigers.
Since last year, the State Government has decided to celebrate simple Dasara owing to Covid and number of elephants too were restricted to just five instead of 14 – 15 in previous years. Though for6est Department officials brought 8 elephants, this year only six elephants were used for Jamboo Savari.
Abhimanyu in his maiden role as howdah carrier last year did his job with ease earning appreciation from various quarters. Besides, he also has the experience of successfully carrying the howdah at Srirangapattana Dasara for five to six years. Unlike Mysuru Dasara, only wooden howdah with the idol of Bhuvaneshwari inside is carried in Srirangapattana Dasara.
So far elephant Drona has the record of carrying Howdah in highest number. He carried the Golden Howdah for a record of 18 consecutive years between 1981 and 1997 before being electrocuted while grazing in 1998. After that Balarama and Arjuna carried golden howdah for many years.
As per the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, elephants above 60 years housed in camps or temples, cannot be used for any task. However, otherwise can be decided based on the health condition of the animal, after certification by veterinarians. Yet the Forest Department does not use elephants after 60 years. So Abhimanyu is likely to carry golden howdah for another 5 years.