Golden howdah bearer, Arjuna walks easily with heavy load along savari route

Mysuru: With the dazzling Dasara Jumbo Savari being just a fortnight away, elephant Arjuna, who will carry the golden howdah, had a trial run with a wooden howdah here on Wednesday.

Carrying a load of 640 kgs, including the 280 kg wooden howdah  and 360 kgs of sand bags put in it, Arjuna comfortably covered the route of the procession to the Bannimantap parade grounds in one hour and 40 minutes. Elephants Balarama and Abhimanyu, who are the standby golden howdah bearers, too will undergo a similar exercise to train them to carry the 750 kgs it weighs, says Dr Nagaraj, veterinarian in charge of the Dasara elephants.

The exercise to train Arjuna and other elephants to carry the golden howdah began on September 14 with 350 kgs and their load has been gradually increased over the days.

Meanwhile, 80 top drivers from across the country are preparing to showcase their skills  in the  adventure motorsport event, “Mysuru Dasara Gravel Fest,”   yet another pre-Dasara event, which will be held on October 7 on a 3 km track at the Lalit Mahal Palace grounds.

The event, being hosted by the Automative Sports Club of Mysuru is hosting in association with the tourism department,  will see the drivers negotiate steep curves, sharp corners and ramps. To encourage young drivers from Mysuru, a special race with a reward of Rs 2 lakh in cash for the fastest driver will be held as part of the event.

A motorsports hub along with Bengaluru and Coimbatore in the past, Mysuru has produced some of the finest racers of the country, including national champions, Abdul Wahid, Lohitt Urs, and N Prasad. But it has fallen off the motorsports map in recent years and the gravel fest is expected to  revive its interest in it. Fans of actor Darshan can look forward to his participation in the race, according to sources.

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