Elephantine issue: How will jumbos cope on busy roads ?
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Elephantine issue: How will jumbos cope on busy roads ?

September 16, 2021

As festivities restricted to Palace, even training is confined to Palace fortress

Mysore/Mysuru: This year too, the Vijayadashami procession will be confined to Mysore Palace thanks to COVID pandemic and there will be no full rehearsals.

All the eight elephants will be taken out within the Palace premises and the question of taking them till Bannimantap Torchlight Grounds as per routine does not arise. 

This has turned out to be a unique and a mighty problem to the Forest Department officials. After this Dasara, all the elephants will be accustomed to roaming inside the Palace. If next year there is a full-scale Dasara, how will the elephants behave on the busy road as they will be taken till Bannimantap? The route will not be registered in their minds and everything needs to be started from scratch with more than a month of training for acclimatisation. 

Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Dr. V. Karikalan said that this year, they were thinking of taking the elephants on a route march till at least the Dhanvantri Road Junction from the Palace on Sayyaji Rao Road if not till Bannimantap.  Now, with the procession limited to the Palace, the training will also be confined to the Palace fortress.

“We have to take them out otherwise they will totally forget the route and will be a problematic issue next year if it is a full-fledged Dasara,” he said. 

Pachyderms have to be continuously practiced on roads amidst vehicles so that they stay calm and since two years that has not been made possible due to confined celebrations inside the Palace, the DCF added.

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Also there are plans to acclimatise cannon firing at the firing range at the foot of Chamundi Hill. “Even this routine of Dasara must be practiced so that the jumbos do not run away when the actual festival cannon firing happens,” Dr. Karikalan explained. 

This year, along with Abhimanyu, Dhananjaya and Gopalaswamy and newcomer Ashwathama will be trained in carrying the Golden Howdah. “Since the past two years, we have been training Dhananjaya and Gopalaswamy by placing the howdah weight on their backs. This year Ashwathama too will begin his training as he is tipped to be the Howdah-elephant of the future,” the officer said. 

On the unwell Vikrama who has shown uneasiness from the day of Gajapayana, Dr. Karikalan said that Vikrama has a stomach ailment and excessive body heat. The elephant camp has CCTV surveillance with constant monitoring of health by the Forest staff and vets and provision of a special diet. 

“He is under our supervision and we are giving him food supplements like boiled banana stem to reduce the body heat and also a diet of pulses and grains apart from head massage with particular oils,” he added.

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