MYSURU: Following large-scale destruction due to the recent heavy rains and floods in Kodagu and some other parts of the state, the Gajapayana, the ceremonial march of elephants from the forests to Mysuru, ahead of their participation in the the world-famous Dasara festivities, has been put off. The Dasara committee and district administration were to hold the ceremony on August 23.
As per the custom observed over the past 20 years, Dasara elephants are extended a traditional reception at Veeranahosahalli in Nagarhole forest range. The elephants are again extended a red-carpet welcome at Mysuru Palace 40 days before the formal Dasara festivities, during which time they are made to rehearse their part as well as get accustomed to the city atmosphere.
During their stay at the palace, the elephants are fed high-protein nutrition to be able to cope with the activities they are made to do, particularly like carrying the 750-kg golden howdah over a distance of 4.3 km during the Vijayadashami procession.
Although the Forest Department and district administration were all set to kick-start the programme with the welcoming of 12 Dasara elephants, the flooding of the Cauvery and Kapila that has caused extensive damage to property and cultivated land, has resulted in a number of officers getting busy with relief works.
The new date for the Gajapayana will be fixed when the Dasara high-powered committee meets after 10 days, according to a source. “There are also talks that the Dasara festivities will be a low-key affair this year because of the damage the floods have caused to the flora and fauna in Kodagu,” the source added.
Deputy Conservator of Forests Siddaramappa said District Minister G T Devegowda has asked to hold a high-level meeting and finalise the date for the Gajapayana.