Their impeccable performance lifted the Mysore Dasara festival. And they hogged the limelight during the Jamboo Savari. Having done their duty, the group of Dasara elephants bid adieu to the city on Tuesday.
Their sojourn in the city, which lasted nearly 45 days, came to an end as the howdah elephant Arjuna and company were given a warm farewell, complete with prayers for their collective wellbeing and safe return to their jungle camps.
The priest performed mangalarthi and chanted hymns, even as officials provided the elephants a sumptuous treat of sugarcane and jaggery for one last time for the year. Chomping the sugarcane and jaggery with delight, there was an occasional nod of their heads as if in appreciation of the gesture. The elephants raised their trunks in salute and posed for a group photo before boarding the trucks that were waiting to transport them to their respective jungle camps.
There was a huge turnout, with people crowding the palace grounds to get a glimpse of the elephants whose absence will be missed by the tourists and the public.
Earlier, the district administration hosted a lunch for the mahouts and their family members, all of whom were presented with a set of new clothes and blankets, while the mahouts received an honorarium of Rs. 5,000 each. In all, 14 elephants had come to Mysore from various jungle camps. Harsha, Vikrama, Prashantha, Gopi and Kaveri left for Dubare camp, while Abhimanyu, Mary, Varalakshmi, Balarama and Gopalswamy left for Tithimathi. Arjuna left for Balle camp. However, Durgaparameshwari, Srirama and Gajendra will leave for K. Gudi camp only on Wednesday.
After some much-needed rest, some of the elephants, including Abhimanyu, Vikrama, Harsha, Srirama and Gajendra, will be on standby for the strenuous work of taming wild tuskers captured in Hassan or taking part in fresh operations to capture or drive back wild elephants straying into human habitation.
District in-charge Minister V. Srinivas Prasad and senior officials of the district administration and Forest Department were present on the occasion.