How Abhimanyu and team gearing up for Jumbo Sawari amid covid pandemic
Mysuru, Oct 19: The 400-year-old Mysore Dasara will be a simple affair this time due to the coronavirus crisis. Every year, lakhs of people gather in Mysore to watch the Ambari procession of Goddess Chamundeshwari.
With only few days left for the big day, training for veteran Dasara elephant Abhimanyu bagan, to prepare him to carry 750-kg golden howdah.
On the first day training, the 54-year-old Abhimanyu carried a wooden howdah filled with sand bags weighing 600 kg, which was placed on its back with Namda (made of coconut fibre), Gaadi (made of hey straw), Chaapu (made of coconut fibre, which is thinner and smaller in size to match the size of howdah) serving as cushion. The weight of the sand bags will be progressively increased to 750 kg, that is equivalent to the golden howdah.
Abhimanyu was flanked by Kumki elephants Cauvery and Vijaya for the rehearsal. Another elephant Vikrama participated as "Pattada aane" for festival rituals of erstwhile royal family of Mysuru.
Immunity-boosting food & strict quarantine
A special nutritional diet is already being provided to the elephants and weight training and other exercises have commenced for Abhimanyu. All 19 mahouts and their helpers as well as the elephants have been put on a special immunity-boosting diet to protect them from catching the viral infection.
Strict Covid-19 protocol was being followed for the elephants named Abhimanyu, Vikram, Kaveri, Gopi and Vijaya. The authorities have also placed the mahouts and their kavadis (helpers) under quarantine.
'Jumbo Sawari' or procession of well-decorated elephants carrying the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari placed in a golden Howdah on Vijayadashmi or the 10th day of the festival, which marks the culmination of celebrations on October 26, has been restricted to the palace premises. At the palace too, the royal family has decided to hold the celebrations in the simple way with select gathering, due to COVID pandemic.
The Navaratri celebrations at the palace include several rituals, most remarkably Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, the scion of Mysuru royal family, dressed in grand attire, conducting Khasagi durbar (private durbar) by ascending the golden throne, amid chanting vedic hymns.
The royal palace and several parts of Mysuru city is illuminated with thousands of bulbs glowing during the evenings, all through the festival. Dasara was celebrated by the rulers of the Vijayanagar empire and the tradition was inherited by the Wadiyars.
Also adherence to COVID-19 precautions like compulsory facemasks, physical distancing, provision of hand sanitizers, hand washing facility with soap and water, and appropriate places to ensure physical distancing.