Jumboo Savari, the finale of Dasara festival is no doubt the prime attraction in city especially the golden howdah being carried by a mighty humble elephant.
Many are unaware of the intricate preparations to be made before the howdah could be mounted on the back of the elephant.
The howdah is actually placed on a thick mattress which is fastened to the back of the elephant using jute ropes.
The mattress is actually a combination of three different layers colloquially called Gaadhi, Namda and chapu.
The bottom layer Namda is actually a combination of gunny cloth and white cotton cloth woven together to get a soft texture.
Over Namda is Gaadhi which is a huge square gunny sack stuffed with wild grass grown on the bank of lakes.
Chapu is the top most layered thick cloth cover.
In short the three layer mattress is supposed to provide a firm soft support for the howdah and make the bearer elephant comfortable to carry the heavy load for a good distance.
The unsung hero instrumental in making the mattress is Pasha, a mahout of elephant Sarala who retired in 2006 but has also been doing this job of stitching the three-layer mattress right from 1971. His passion for the job and love of elephants has been recognised by the Forest Department to still keep him on the rolls. Pasha’s father Sultan too was a mahout for the Pattada Aane Hamsaraja of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar.
Pasha does not just make Namda, Gaadhi and Chapu but also weaves the thick jute rope from strands which takes about three days to make.
Speaking to SOM, Pasha said that he would begin making the jute rope ten days before Dasara. He added that he has been training other mahouts to make the mattress and rope. However he said that he was not happy to be in the forest all through and wanted his son Mansoor not to step into his shoes.
Courtesy : Star Of Mysore