Mysuru: With just a month for the grand Dasara to begin, the first batch of six Dasara elephants were accorded a traditional welcome at the Mysore Palace this morning. Accompanied by the traditional ‘Mangala Vaadya’ and the cultural troupes, the elephants marched the two-kilometre distance from the Aranya Bhavan to the Mysore Palace.
A festive atmosphere prevailed today in city as the elephants marched along the thoroughfares after days of uncertainty marked by political volatility, change in government, heavy rain and the resultant damages.
Captain and Howdah Elephant Arjuna (59) from Balle Elephant Camp, Vijaya (62) from Dubare, Abhimanyu (53) from Mathigodu, Dhananjaya (36) from Dubare, Varalakshmi (63) from Mathigodu and Eshwar (36) from Dubare Elephant Camp marched into the Palace along with their mahouts, kavadis and families.
The elephants had arrived in the city on Aug. 22 from the jungle camps and had been housed at Aranya Bhavan (Forest Department office). The elephants began their journey from the Aranya Bhavan at 10.30 am and arrived at the Jayamarthanda Gate at 11.48 am. As the elephants entered the Palace, ritualistic pujas commenced and flower petals were showered on the jumbos.
The rituals began in the Abhijin Lagna at 12 noon and the ceremonies were led by priest S.V. Prahallad Rao who has been tasked with performing pujas to the Dasara elephants and Chamundeshwari Temple Chief Priest Dr. Shashishekar Dixit.
A team of officials including the Palace staff and the Police band waited for the jumbos to arrive through the Jayamarthanda Gate to the main Palace complex and they were welcomed with a traditional Aarati followed by a round of prayers and chanting of hymns.
The Police band played traditional tunes while folk artistes danced to the beats of the drums and cymbals. A ‘guard of honour’ was accorded by City Armed Reserve (CAR) Police personnel. Mysuru District Minister V. Somanna, under whose leadership this Dasara will be held, arrived from Bengaluru at 12.26 pm and the traditional Pushparchane was performed by the Minister at 12.23 pm.
At 12.36 pm, the elephants entered the Jayamarthanda Gate and they reached the traditional Aane Bagilu at 1 pm where another guard of honour was accorded. Mysore Palace Board led by its Deputy Director T.S. Subramanya distributed welcome kits to the mahouts and kavadis that contain all the daily essentials and toiletries.
Seeing the elephants gathered at the Palace, people and tourists thronged Jayamarthanda Gate to get a glimpse of the event. Elaborate security arrangements had been made around the elephants with the city Police covering the area with ropes.
Addl. Chief Secretary Sandeep Dave, Addl. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Jagat Ram, Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G. Sankar Chief Conservator of Forests T. Heeralal, Deputy Conservator of Forests J. Alexander and Dr. K.C. Prashanth Kumar, Veterinarian D.N. Nagaraj and others were present. Regarding political leaders, Chamaraja MLA L. Nagendra, Periyapatna MLA K. Mahadev, MP Pratap Simha, ZP President Parimala Shyam were present. Krishnaraja MLA S.A. Ramdas was conspicuous by his absence.