Mysuru: There was festive atmosphere in the air as District in-charge Minister Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa flagged off Gajapayana, the majestic march of Dasara elephants to participate in the Dasara festivities beginning September 21, this morning at Nagapura Hadi (near Hunsur) in the premises of Girijana Vasathi Shale (Girijina Residential School) by offering flowers to the six elephants.
This is the first time that Gajapayana is being organised in such a grand manner and this was evident with nearly 5,000 people from nearby villages, tribal areas, people from Mysuru and even foreigners participating in the event, even as the signboards, festoons and buntings all around the venue greeted them.
Out of the eight elephants led by Arjuna, two elephants Gajendra and Bheema will come directly to Mysore in lorries today. The other six elephants Arjuna, Balarama, Abhimanu, Kavery, Vijaya and Varalakshmi will arrive in Mysuru at Aloka this evening.
Palace Priest S.V. Prahalad Rao performed Aarati to the six elephants at 10.35 am during ‘Tula Lagna’ on ‘Panchami’ day today. He invoked the blessings of lord Ganapathy, Goddess Chamundeshwari, the reigining deity of Mysuru, and also did Vanadevi Pooja (Goddess of forests) by pasting turmeric, kumkum to the feet of the elephants.
Reciting Vedas and Mantras for bountiful rain and good crops in the State, Rao offered the favourite dishes of lord Ganesha like Kadabu, Modaka, Kodbale, Chakkuli, jaggery, sugarcane, apple and other fruits to the elephants.
Forest Department officials including CCF P.B. Karunakar, DCF (Wildlife), Mysore Circle V. Yedukondalu, DCF Hanumanthu, Nagarhole CCF Manikantan and others offered traditional puja to the elephants.
Chief guest yet to be decided
Later, Dr. Mahadevappa, addressing the media, said that the chief guest to inaugurate the Dasara on September 21 atop the Chamundi Hill will be decided by the Chief Minister Siddharamaiah after holding a meeting with the high-power committee in a day or two.
Dr. Mahadevappa released a CD of the 45-minute documentary film on conservation of elephants on the occasion. Even the Dasara website was launched at the same time.
Mahesh, son of Dodda Masti (who died last year), was chosen as the Mahout to sit atop the Howdah-elephant Arjuna last year. However, this year Vinoo has been chosen as the Mahout and Mahesh will be the Kavadi.
Another major attraction this time at the Gajapayana that had the audience lapping it up, was the dances including Kamsale, Dollu Kunita, Veeragaase, Bombe Kunita, Puja Kunitha, tribal dance, Tibetan dance, Gorava dance and Jenukuruba dances being performed.
Hunsur MLA H.P. Manjunath, Mayor M.J. Ravikumar, DC D. Randeep, MUDA Chairman D. Dhruvakumar, Commissioner Dr M. Mahesh, Corporation Commissioner Dr. G. Jagadeesha, Hunsur Assistant Commissioner Soujanya, Mysuru Assistant Commissioner Shivashanker, Tourism Department Deputy Director H.P. Janardhan and others were present.