Mysuru: Preparations for the world famous Mysuru Dasara celebrations have begun in right earnest with forest officers visiting elephant camps in different forests to inspect and assess the health of jumbos so that a list can be drawn up of the pachyderms which can be brought to Mysuru for the acclimatisation exercise ahead of the Jumbo Savari procession on Vijayadashami day.
This year, the Dasara procession will be held on October 8 and the elephants will have to be brought to Mysuru city at least 50 days in advance. The DCF Mysuru wildlife division, Mr Alexander M.G. and wildlife veterinarian Dr Nagaraj D.N., who have been taking care of Dasara elephants for the past 20 years visited the camps.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Mr Alexander said they have already visited Dubare and Aane Kaadu camps in Madikeri wildlife division and Maththigodu, Gaadipalya and Balle camps in Nagarahole tiger reserve. They will also be visiting camps at M Hole tiger reserve and Bandipur and Kgudi camp in Biligiriranga hills. The purpose is to assess if any of the tuskers are in masth (heat) or the female elephants are pregnant and if they are healthy enough. "We need 12 elephants for the Dasara procession and will be shortlisting them in a week's time," he said.
When asked if a replacement had been found for 39-year-old Drona, who participated twice in the Dasara festivities and passed away recently, Mr Alexander said they have a set of able elephants ready.
The date for the Dasara Gajapayana (a formal ceremony to bring the elephants to the Mysuru palace courtyards for the acclimatisation exercise and to prepare them for Jumbo Savari) will be finalised at the first Dasara executive committee meeting which has been delayed due to the political turmoil and change of government in the state....