Mysore/Mysuru: Like last year, this year too, families and relatives of mahouts and kavadis will miss their annual Dasara trip to Mysuru. The Forest Department has taken a decision in this regard as bringing the families to Mysuru would be a risky affair though Coronavirus cases are on a rapid decline.
Usually, hundreds of family members arrive along with the elephants to the Mysore Palace and are housed in sheds inside. As the sheds are crowded and even the family members venture out of the Palace for shopping and eating during their stay, the Department has decided to play safe.
Yesterday, eight elephants, led by Captain Abhimanyu, arrived at Aranya Bhavan premises along with 38 staff including the assistants of mahouts and kavadis. While Golden Howdah carrying elephant Abhimanyu and first-timer Ashwathama are tied separately, the remaining elephants are tied together and are being fed with Kusure (a mixture of hay, jaggery and other ingredients made into balls) and Banyan leaves.
Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Dr. V. Karikalan said that all the eight elephants were hale and healthy and would be housed in Aranya Bhavan till the early hours of Sept. 16. On that day at 6.30 am, the Department will offer traditional puja and the elephants will be marched to Mysore Palace, where they will be accorded a traditional welcome.
The elephants will enter the Palace premises through Jayamarthanda Gate between 8.36 am and 9.11 am. Entry for the public at Aranya Bhavan has been restricted. Meanwhile, the shelter for elephants, mahouts, kavadis and their assistants have been readied at Mysore Palace premises.
Special diet for elephants and training would begin from Sept. 19. The District Administration has insured the elephants, mahouts and kavadis to financially cover the damage to public and private properties if any. The insurance is valid till Oct. 25.
While Rs. 3.5 lakh each is the premium for male elephants, the premium for female elephants is Rs. 2 lakh each. Mahouts and kavadis have also been insured by paying a premium of Rs. 1 lakh.