Mysuru: The first batch of Dasara elephants received a traditional send-off to Mysuru on Thursday with minister R Ashok doing a pooja and feeding them jaggery, sugarcane and fruits, among other treats at the entrance of the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in Veeranahosalli, Hunsur taluk, Mysuru.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said Rs 20 crore had been released for the Mysuru Dasara celebrations this year by the government. He explained that Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa did not think the heavy rain and floods in some parts of the state should come in the way of the Dasara tradition as it was an occasion to offer poojas for the well- being of Karnataka.
Assuring flood victims that the government would do everything possible to come to their aid, he warned that officers would not be spared if they were found demanding commissions while handing over their relief funds to them.
Interestingly, to the embarrassment of the minister, MLA, S A Ramdas upstaged him by offering pooja in his absence to the Dasara elephants at 11.20am, leaving him to follow at 11.28am on his arrival.
After the formal pooja, the elephants, who included Arjuna,, the likely bearer of the golden howdah for the ninth year during the Jumbo Savari on Vijayadashami day, Abhimanyu, Dananjaya, Eeshwara, Vijaya and Varalakshmi, marched a few steps to the tunes of the nadeswara in a small procession of traditionally dressed women carrying poorna kumbas and folk troupes, before they headed for Mysuru in lorries.
Looking on were some 2000 people from nearby villages and the Gurupura Tibetan settlement. The elephants reached Mysuru by 5.45pm and were lodged in the campus of the Aranya Bhavan. They will leave for the courtyards of the Mysuru Palace on August 26 and remain there with their caretakers till the end of the Dasara celebrations....