Elephant Balaram fit, and maybe back for this Dasara celebration

DC | S.V. KRISHNA CHAITANYA
Published Sep 7, 2014, 11:55 am IST
Updated Mar 31, 2019, 6:36 am IST
Balaram is naturally calm & people are more comfortable, while Arjuna is aggressive
Balaram enjoys a shower at Palace premises in Mysore on Saturday (Photo: DC)
 Balaram enjoys a shower at Palace premises in Mysore on Saturday (Photo: DC)

Mysore: For 14 consecutive years Balaram took pride of place as the howdah elephant carrying the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari in the Jumbo Savari, the highlight of the Mysore Dasara until he lost the job to Arjuna in 2012 owing to worry over his fitness. But this year the gentle giant is back in reckoning, having fully regained his fitness.

The 56-year-old veteran proved he still has it in him during the trials for the Jumbo Savari, carrying 400 kgs of sand bags, and walking the entire 4.8 km route it covers in 110 minutes with no signs of discomfort. Though Arjuna, the heaviest bull, covered the distance in 90 minutes, Balaram was equally elegant. The big advantage for Balaram is that he is naturally calm and people are more comfortable with him while Arjuna is aggressive.

 

Wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Nagaraj, who is also in-charge of Dasara elephants, says the improved health of Balaram is great news as it will give more options for the forest department.

“Though Balaram may not be reinstated as howdah elephant as Arjuna fits the role perfectly, he is definitely the next best choice in an emergency. Also, he will be an asset to the department in capturing rogue elephants,” he adds. Dr. Nagaraj admitted that Balaram’s fitness was a major concern in 2012 as he looked feeble and weighed just 4,535 kgs, the lowest after he took over as howdah elephant.

 

With his appetite decreasing he looked exhausted and took nearly two-and-a-half hour to cover the Jumbo Savari route during rehearsal. “This forced us to replace him with Arjuna. But, now he seems to have regained his full fitness. This year, on arrival, Balaram weighed 4,970 kgs,” he reveals. Balaram’s mahout Thimma also seemed happy with his physical condition.

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Location: Karnataka




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