Carries 1,100 kg as if it is a child’s play
Mysore/Mysuru: The 57-year-old Abhimanyu, one of the longest serving members of the Dasara jumbo squad, carried the 750-kg Golden Howdah and successfully completed his third Jumboo Savari. In doing so, he became a hat-trick hero and the cynosure of all eyes.
The veteran elephant took over the mantle from Arjuna after the latter’s retirement and has been accomplishing his weighty role with ease and majesty. Arjuna retired after he turned 60. As per the Supreme Court directions and Union Government’s guidelines, no elephant aged above 60 years is supposed to be tasked with heavy and stressful duty.
Arjuna had effortlessly carried the Golden Howdah for eight consecutive times and once, years ago, he successfully carried it when the Howdah was mounted on him from Bannimantap to Mysore Palace after elephant Drona carried it during the Vijayadashami procession from Palace to Torchlight Parade Grounds.
This year too, Abhimanyu has proved that he is the worthy successor to Arjuna. Yesterday, the tusker carried a weight of 1,100 kg and traversed a distance of five kilometres from Mysore Palace to Bannimantap in 2.15 hours.
Usually, Abhimanyu takes 1.15 hours to cover the distance from the Palace to Bannimantap but this year, as there were many cultural troupes and tableaux that passed in front of him, there was a delay, said officers.
Nick-named AK-47 due to the prowess and valour Abhimanyu has shown over the years in tiger and wild elephant capture operations, the fearless tusker is the Forest Department’s prized possession.
Expressing happiness over Abhimanyu carrying the Golden Howdah with ease, DCF (Wildlife) Dr. V. Karikalan said that Abhimanyu was a hero and this year too, he has accomplished the feat, thanks to the 60-day training.
“The training consisted of walking in the morning and also under illuminated path. The entire elephant team walked majestically and did not even mind the dazzling lights all over the place. Abhimanyu and team have successfully fulfilled their responsibilities,” he added.
Abhimanyu begins his stint of carrying the Golden Howdah in 2020 and he can carry it for six consecutive years before he turns 60. Abhimanyu was captured at Hebballa forest in Kodagu district in 1977.
He has been participating in Jumboo Savari for the past 21 years and holds the record for participating in most number of Dasara. Stationed at Mathigodu Elephant Camp in Kodagu, Abhimanyu is 2.68 metres tall and 3.51 metres in length, weighing around 5,000 kgs.
Abhimanyu has so far captured over 150 wild elephants and over 50 tigers. He has travelled to Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Goa to help in the capture of wild elephants and tigers. Mahout J.S. Vasantha and Kavadi J.K. Raju are taking care of Abhimanyu and are grooming him every day.