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Elephants bid adieu

Special Correspondent

The 12 elephants will return to jungle camps

— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

SAYING BYE:An elephant being loaded onto a lorry in Mysore

MYSORE: Having left an indelible impression on lakhs of people during Mysore Dasara and shoring up the events with their majestic presence, the gentle giants from the jungle camps bid adieu to the city of palace on Wednesday.

The 12 elephants from various jungle camps, led by the ambaari aane (howdah elephant) Balarama, camped in the city for the last 45 days for the festivities which concluded on Sunday.

Having put up their best act and lived up to their formidable reputation as the cynosure of all eyes during the Jamboo Savari, the elephants relaxed in the ambience of the palace grounds for two days before embarking on their return journey to the forests along with their mahouts.

The elephants were given a warm send off complete with prayers for their collective welfare and safety by archaks who peformed aarti and applied kumkum and arshina to Balarama and the other elephants. The archaks chanted ashtottara and garlanded the elephants while sugarcane and jaggery were offered as a mark of thanksgiving for their splendid display during the Dasara procession.

Chomping away at the sugarcane and jaggery, the elephants frequently raised their trunks and let out a trumpet now and then in a token of appreciation before being herded towards their trucks for their journey back to the jungles.

The atmosphere on the palace courtyard was one of excitement as the mahouts backed their belongings in a rush to get back home while the elephants seemed to revel in the ambience with which they are now familiar as most of them are veterans of Mysore Dasara.

Having participated in the procession for the last many years, the elephants seemed to display a “been here-seen it all” kind of non-chalance as they romped around the open grounds, occasionally taking a dip in the pond.

While Balarama will be taken to Matigodu camp in Nagarahole, Arjuna will head towards Balle camp also in Nagarahole. Gajendra, who is the tallest of them all at 2.80 metres and is renowned as the Pattada Aane or royal elephant, will be sent to K. Gudi camp in Chamarajanagar along with Kavitha, Kanthi and Srirama. Varalakshmi, Sarala and Mary will be taken to the Sunkadakatte forest camp in Nagarahole.

Abhimanyu, a tough task master and renowned to subdue rogue elephants in the wild, will head for the Moorkal camp in Nagarahole gearing up for his next adventure slated to be in Hassan and Kodagu to capture and relocate a few wild elephants that have strayed from their original habitat.

Harsha and Vikrama will take their position at Dubare elephant camp and regale tourists and participate in other forestry activities, including jungle patrol; a routine that will be followed by other elephants in their jungle camps. However, Balarama, in view of his exalted status as the ambaari aane will be extended special privileges and allowed to roam free until next year's Dasara when he will have to mantle the responsibility of carrying the golden howdah again.

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