The Dasara elephants, before leaving for Mysore city, were being given a royal treatment in the backwaters of Kabini with daily baths, massages and plenty of fodder relished by the pachyderms.

These elephants, led by Howdah-bearer Arjuna, had a jolly good time in the cool waters under the hot sun, rolling over, blowing water on each other with their trunks and playfully teasing the Mahouts and Kavadis while they massaged the gentle giants with neem oil and castor oil to prevent flies and mosquitoes. The Mahouts and Kavadis’ children too joined in rubbing the animals’ backs, enjoying the water games.

The mighty Balarama, aged 55 years, who had the led the Dasara procession for the past 13 years till 2011 (he was replaced by Arjuna last year), is also going to participate in this year’s Dasara.

Durgaparameshwari, the 45-year-old cow elephant from Pilikula elephant camp in Mangalore, will be a debutant.

Arjuna, 53, Sarala, 71, Varalakshmi, 58, Abhimanyu, 47 and Balarama, being groomed at Mathigodu camp, left for Mysore city in the first trip of Gajapayana today.

Vikram, 49, Kaveri, 33, Vijaya, 41, Srirama, 55, Durgaparameshwari, 45, Gopalaswami, 31 and Gajendra, 58, from K. Gudi camp in Chamarajanagar are being readied in Dubare camp near Kushalnagar in Kodagu. The dates for the second and third trips of Gajapayana are yet to be fixed. The elephants are being fed twice a day with corn-cobs with ragi mudde, broken wheat, soya beans, pulses and steamed-rice cooked with green grams. They are also hand-fed with balls of straw rolled around paddy.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore