Mysuru: The first batch of six caparisoned Dasara elephants, which have arrived in the city from their forest camps, were given a traditional welcome at the Jayamarthanda gate of the Mysuru Palace by district minister, G T Devegowda Wednesday evening.
The elephants led by the golden howdah bearer Arjuna, were received to the tunes of the nagaswara, with the police band playing and performances by colourful cultural troupes. Mr Devegowda performed pooja to the elephants instructed by a team of priests led by chief priest of the Chamundeshwari temple, Dr Shashishekar Dixit, and later fed them sugarcane and jaggery.
A guard of honour, usually reserved for top political leaders like the Chief Minister and top ranking police officers, was given to the elephants, which are a huge draw during the Jumbo Savari that forms part of the grand finale of the 10-day Dasara festival in the city.
Besides the arrangements that have been made to provide the elephants a special diet and exercise, aluminium tents have been built to lodge the families of their mahouts and kaawaadis in the palace courtyard. A special kit with clothes, mats, blankets, stoves and food was given to the families Wednesday evening.
The government has also established a health camp managed by Ayush, the naturopathy wing of the health department for their benefit and a tent school and library for their children.
While the remaining five elephants will arrive two weeks before Dasara, elephant Balarama, a veteran of the festival, is expected next week as he is presently involved in an operation to resolve a man- animal conflict in Ramanagar.
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