Canon firing: It's drill time for Dasara elephants
Bengaluru, Sep 14: Elephants are the toast of the Dasara festivities in Mysore and the pack of 12 pachyderms selected for this year's celebrations are much fussed over to ensure that they are ready for the rigours of the 'Jamboo Savari', the main attraction of the 10-day festival.
The Dasara elephants have been rehearsing daily since their arrival here from their respective jungle camps to get accustomed to the noise and crowds.
The elephants were familiarised with the booming sound of the cannons which were fired during a practice session outside Mysuru palace.
What is cannon firing?
Traditionally 21 cannon shots will be fired at Palace premises after Chief Minister offers floral tribute to Goddess Chamundeswari housed in the golden howdah, carried by Arjuna, during the Dasara jumbo savari procession on the Vijayadashami day. Also cannon shots will be fired during the torch light parade at the Bannimantap ground premises too.
How it started
In the past, Maharaja's of erstwhile royal of family of Mysuru carried on this tradition of firing cannon shots to mark the auspicious occasions, to inform citizens on the events at Mysuru Palace.
It is only once an year and that too during Dasara, that gunpowder shots would reverberate for 90 seconds.
Seven cannons were procured for the palace armoury in 1856 and four in 1857 and 1858 by Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. They have never been used in any war but they were used to herald special occasions.
All 12 Dasara elephants will be familiarised with cannon fire shots three different days.
Debutant Eshwara grows nervous
Debutant Eshwara, Dhananjay, 36, participating for the second time, grew nervous during the exercise but were controlled by handlers.
All other 10 elephants, Arjuna, Balarama, Vijaya, Kaveri, Gopi, Durgaparameshwari and first time participants debutants Lakshmi and Jayaprakash were calm.
Abhimanyu missed the practice as he is attending a tiger rescue operation at Kundakere Forest, Gundlupet taluk, Chamarajanagar district, while Varalakshmi did not participate as she is pregnant.
30 personnel train
The 30-member team from City Armed Reserve fired the cannons even as all 11 jumbos, including lead tusker Arjuna which carry the 750-kg golden howdah, were lined up to help them get used to the noise. There were 25 horse-mounted cops the rehearsal.
The Police fired 3 rounds using 6 cannons and later one round each using three cannons.
21 rounds of canon firing
During the exercise, a total of 45 kg of gun power was used to fire 21 rounds and the quantity of the powder will be increased in the next sessions. The firing of 21 rounds of cannon shots, will be performed before the commencement of the Jamboo Savari, on the day of Vijayadashami, the final leg of Dasara, on October 8.