Abhimanyu To Carry Wooden Ambari From Today
Second batch of Dasara elephants to arrive on Sept. 7; 18-year-old Parthasarathy youngest
Mysore/Mysuru: Dasara elephant Abhimanyu, entrusted with the responsibility of carrying the 750-kg Golden Howdah (Ambari) with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari during the Vijayadashami procession, will carry the Wooden Howdah this evening for the first time this year.
Abhimanyu was till now carrying sand-laden bags for it to get used to carrying the Golden Howdah with ease. From today, the 280-kg Wooden Howdah will be mounted on him along with sandbags, Gaadhi-Namdha (a cushion-like material), 50-kg ropes and the body weight of the Mahout to achieve a combined weight of 1,050 kgs.
The Wooden Howdah is the exact replica of the Golden Howdah and is used for rehearsals. Before the Ambari is mounted on Abhimanyu, minor repairs for the Wooden Howdah are carried out so that it can withstand the pressure of pushing and pulling.
The Forest Department has made enough preparations for the event by oiling the crane that will be used to mount the Wooden Howdah. The formal puja for the Wooden Howdah and rituals will be held at 4 pm and the mounting and tying process will begin at 4.30 pm.
Abhimanyu will venture out of the Palace with the Wooden Ambari at 5 pm and walk till Bannimantap along with eight other elephants. The Wooden Howdah will be dismounted at Bannimantap and will be carried in a vehicle back to the Palace while Abhimanyu will walk only with sandbags. One more crane has been set up at Bannimantap Torch Light Parade Grounds to de-mount the Wooden Howdah.
Along with Abhimanyu and the team, a vehicle from Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) and an Abhaya team from the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) will proceed along the Raja Marga to identify and prune the tree branches that obstruct the Ambari-carrying Abhimanyu. There must be a height of at least 25 feet (the height of the elephant carrying the Howdah from the ground is 22 feet) for the elephant to pass smoothly. Usually, the CESC follows the 25-feet norm.
The place around the crane being cleaned to mount the Wooden Howdah on Abhimanyu.
Grooming other Howdah-carriers
To groom the second and third line of Howdah-carrying elephants, the Wooden Howdah training will also be given to Gopalaswamy, Mahendra, Bheema and Dhananjaya in the coming days in batches so that they too are trained to carry the weight.
Only Arjuna will not carry the Wooden Howdah as he has crossed 60 years of age. Moreover, Arjuna will be the ‘Nishane Aane’ (the tusker that will move first in the Vijayadashami procession).
This Dasara, there are four elephants that are participating in the festivities for the first time. They are Mahendra, who is already among the first-batch elephants, Kunthi, Srirama and Parthasarathy, who will be a part of the second batch of elephants that will arrive at the Mysore Palace on Sept. 7.
Others in the second batch of five elephants are Vijaya and Gopi. Among the elephants, 18-year-old Parthasarathy from the Rampur Elephant Camp near Bandipur is the youngest.