Mysuru: Gajapayana, the march of elephants from woods to Mysuru city commenced on Saturday, as the first step signalling the commencement of the world famous Mysuru Dasara Mahotsava. There was a festive mood at Veeranahosahalli Gate, Nagapura near Nagarahole Reserve Forest which comes under Hunsur taluk.
The eight Dasara elephants including Arjuna, which carried the golden howdah, and other four pachyderms namely Balarama, Abhimanyu, Gajendra, Kaveri and Vijaya were welcomed by elected representatives, after performing traditional Puja at the auspicious Abhigna Lagna. Different Pujas were performed and jaggery, dry coconut, cane, panchaphala (five fruits) were offered to the elephants. The elephants were decorated with colourful flowers and ornaments.
Priest S V Prahalad who is performing Puja from the past 20 years started rituals seeking the blessing of Goddess Chamundeshwari. Amidst Nadaswara, the women with Kalasha in hand took part in the rituals. Women from Pakshirajapura, Nagapura, Ambedkar Nagar and Girijana Haddi were found enthusiastically taking part in the celebrations.
Anupama, a resident of Nagapura said, "I am witnessing Gajapayana from the last 13 years. I feel delighted to watch the jumbos decked in ornaments and marching towards the city."
Nagapura Girijana Ashrama School children performed Kadu Kuruba dance while Central School of Tibetans, Gurupura students put up their traditional Tibetan dance.
After showering flowers on the pachyderms, District In-charge Minister H C Mahadevappa said that since 1992, the Gajapayana rituals were being followed. "In the next one month, the jumbos will be trained. Dasara which has a history of 400 years depicts the culture, lifestyle, tradition, spreading integrity and oneness," he
added. Various developmental works including road works from Nagarhole to Hunsur were launched on the occasion. The minister also launched the Dasara website and a 10 minutes short film on the occasion.
After the rituals, the jumbos arriving from different camps were transported in trucks from Nagapura to Aloka Palace near Yelwala. They will march towards Mysuru city palace on August 17, where a traditional Puja will be performed. They will be provided with nutritious food for the next one and a half month.
* Gajapayana rituals, the journey of jumbos started in 1992
* First batch of elephants to arrive at city palace on August 17
* Tamboola was given to forest officials and mahouts of Arjuna and Abhimanyu as per tradition
* Second batch of 7 elephants to arrive before August 20.
* The elephants will take part in the Dasara Jumboo Savari to be held on September 30.