Mysore/Mysuru: “There is an indestructible relationship between the royal family and elephants since beginning and the royal family has been very respectful to the elephants that have been participating in Dasara festivities. To express their love and concern to the elephants, the erstwhile kings had installed Jayamarthanda Gate (the main entrance gate of Mysore Palace) and Aane Baagilu at Amba Vilas Palace,” said littérateur Bannur K. Raju.
He was speaking on the topic ‘Dashamiya Jumboo Savari, Aanegala Paatra’ at the 10th and concluding webinar of the series titled ‘Mysuru Dasara Aanegalu’ organised by the Forest Department in association with Asian Elephant Support (AES).
The elephants were taking part in the Jumboo Savari since more than 40 years, he said and added that this tradition will continue in future as one cannot imagine Dasara without elephants.
Continuing, the littérateur said that it was elephant Jayamarthanda, which carried the king seated in the Howdah for the first time and elephant Biligiri was the last elephant to carry the king. Biligiri had carried Jayachamaraja Wadiyar during the Jumboo Savari in 1962.
He pointed out that the erstwhile kings had established Jayamarthanda Gate because elephant Jayamarthanda had carried the Golden Howdah for 45 times during Dasara.
It was because of the love, affection and concern towards elephants, the ‘Aane Baagilu’ was established, he said adding that the importance given to Durbar Hall is given to ‘Aane Baagilu.’
Stating that all the Howdah-carrying elephants from Jayamarthanda to Arjuna (who is aged and replaced by ‘Abhimanyu’ this year) had successfully fulfilled the responsibilities given to them, Bannur K. Raju said that many other elephants had proved their excellence by carrying the Golden Howdah several times during Jumboo Savari which included Drona, who carried the Howdah for 18 times and Balarama 14 times.
Speaking about another Dasara elephant Gajendra, he said “Gajendra had a unique character and he used to very well understand what humans speak. Because of his uniqueness, he was able to act in Dr. Rajkumar-starrer Kannada movie ‘Gandhada Gudi’.”
Like Arjuna, which carried the Howdah for eight times, Abhimanyu would also successfully fulfil its responsibilities and earn loved and affection of all.
Stating that many say that Mysore Dasara has the history of 400 years which is wrong, Bannur K. Raju said that after the decline of Vijayanagar Empire, Mysore Kings came forward to celebrate Dasara and during the rule of Raja Wadiyar, Dasara celebrations began at Srirangapatna in 1610. Hence, Srirangapatna Dasara has the history of 410 years. In 1799, during the rule of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, Dasara celebrations began in Mysuru and hence Mysuru Dasara has the history of 221 year, the littérateur said.
Continuing, he said that wooden howdah was being used during Srirangapatna Dasara and it was during the regime of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, the Golden Howdah was made and it was only after that, Jumboo Saravi and elephants gained more importance.
Speaking at the valedictory of the webinar series, Chamarajanagar Circle Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Manoj Kumar said that this year, Dasara is being celebrated in a simple but in a traditional manner which has left thousands of people disappointed as they cannot witness Jumboo Savari as it is limited only to the Palace premises. Hence, it was decided to portray Dasara elephants through the webinar series, he said and added that AES provided information to the people pertaining to Dasara elephants, Dasara celebrations and about various elephant camps.
He further said that a quiz contest was also organised in a bid to create awareness on wildlife conservation, which is laudable.
Quiz Contest Winners
Over 15,500 audience viewed webinar series which also featured quiz (questions on Dasara elephants) for the participants at the end of each series. Two winners were selected and prizes were awarded. 1st webinar: Due to technical error, viewers were unable to participate in the contest during the first webinar; 2nd: Chaitra Srinidhi and S. Prajwal; 3rd: Karthik Hebbar and Neethuraj; 4th: Dayananda and Srikara; 5th: Vidya Srinivas and Praveen Kumar; 6th: H.M. Trisha and Digambar Patil; 7th: G.V. Nirmala and Ramesh; 8th: K.S. Manoj and Vijayalakshmi; 9th: Deepa and Chandrika Sudheer.
A special cash prize (Rs. 10,000) was bagged by R. Ramkumar, Assistant Professor at Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Sathyamangalam in Tamil Nadu.
Dr. Mamatha Sathyanarayan was the Webinar Convenor.