Mysuru: Mahouts and Kavadis love their respective elephants more than their family members. Behind every successful Dasara event, Mahouts and Kavadis who take care of the festival elephants also play a very important role. During their stay in the palace for Dasara duty, they hardly sleep even for three to four hours a day.
Almost all Mahouts and Kavadis who are in Mysuru Palace who take care of their respective Dasara elephants continued the profession from where their forefathers left. Almost all mahouts and Kavadis belong to the third generation and they have taken up the profession because they love it, are well versed in it and involved in the same from their childhood days.
Vishnu, Mahout of Howdah elephant Arjuna, said, “Everyday before starting our work we pray to Lord Ganesha and start our work. The day starts at 4 AM by cleaning the premise of the elephants and later taking them for bath, giving them food, taking them for a nearly 5-km rehearsal from Palace to Bannimantap, again providing them food and later we have breakfast at 11 AM or 11.30 AM. After a few minutes of relaxation, again the work starts and only after providing them special food in the night we have dinner and after 12 midnight we go for sleep. Even during this time for every half an hour, we need to serve green leaves to the elephant which we love more than our family.”
“My grandfather and father were also looking after the elephants, I used to go with them and gradually I too got inclined towards elephants. It’s a really great honour to be part of Dasara that too carrying goddess Chamundeshwari. We are really gifted to have such opportunity” added Vinu.
Veterinary Nagaraj who is taking care of Dasara elephants successfully for nearly two decades said “The work of mahouts and kavadis are not at an easy job as it involves a lot of risk. These mahouts and kavadis dedication towards their work need to be appreciated. They also play a major role in every successful Dasara. Mahouts and Kavadis are as important as elephants. Especially during taming of wild elephants, they take a lot of risk, at an outset their work involves a lot of risk and really hats off to them.”
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