Dasara elephant Arjuna gets a memorial at his burial site
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Dasara elephant Arjuna gets a memorial at his burial site

May 27, 2024

Mysore/Mysuru: Finally, Dasara elephant Arjuna has a memorial at the Dabballikatte Forest area in Yeslur Hobli of Sakleshpur taluk, built by the Forest Department.

Arjuna, the revered eight-time carrier of the Golden Howdah during Mysuru Dasara festivities, met a tragic end during a wild elephant capture operation when he was fatally wounded during a confrontation with another wild elephant in the Yeslur range forest of Sakleshpur taluk in Hassan district on Dec. 4, 2023.

Until now, no memorial had been constructed for Arjuna, although the State Government promised befitting memorials at his burial site and at H.D. Kote, near the Balle Elephant Camp where Arjuna spent most of his life.

The memorial was constructed with granite stones brought to the burial site by actor Darshan’s fans from Bengaluru. A group of fans arrived at Dabballikatte last Monday at 7 am with the stones, but their vehicle was stuck in slush due to heavy rain and could not move further near the burial site.

In-charge Range Forest Officer (RFO) of Yeslur Range, J.H. Kamarekar, told Star of Mysore that he and his team rushed to the place soon after getting the information, as it was a wild elephant-infested area.

“We told Darshan’s fans, who insisted on constructing a memorial themselves with the stones, that as it was a dangerous and restricted area inside the core Reserve Forest area, rules do not permit any private activities. Any construction here needs approval from the Forest Department, which is the sole authority and money from private parties cannot be used as per rules,” he said.

The RFO said that as the actor’s fans were adamant about the memorial, the Department purchased the granite stones for Rs. 30,000 and a memorial with a plaque was built. The Department staff placed a Tulsi plant, considered sacred, on top of the memorial.

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Later, local villagers demanded the construction of a permanent memorial for Arjuna. They accused the Forest Department

of deliberately delaying the memorial construction and said that they would bring materials themselves to construct a permanent structure.

As a precaution, the Forest Department barricaded the area and requested the Police to provide security to prevent any untoward incident. Yesterday, a Police team from Sakleshpur visited Dabballikatte and  assured protection.

As visitors have to walk one and a half kilometres deep inside the wild elephant-infested jungle to reach the burial site from the main road, entry has been restricted and permission must be sought from the Forest Department.

It may be recalled that in the first week of May this year, Darshan, in a social media post, raised concerns about the state of neglect surrounding Arjuna’s burial site.

Expressing his reverence for Arjuna, Darshan emphasised the need for the State Government to take immediate action to ensure proper arrangements for Arjuna’s final resting place and a memorial.

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