Although lakhs of visitors flock the Royal Route of Jumboo Savari from the Palace to the Bannimantap grounds to have a glimpse of the 5,535 kg howdah elephant Arjuna majestically carrying the 750 kg golden howdah with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari placed in it and seek the blessings of the presiding deity, the real heroes of the event go unnoticed.

Akram Pasha, an employee of the Forest Department, who is specialised in tying the howdah to the Ambari elephant, is on the job for the past 20 years. He along with 68-year-old Zakhaulla, a resident of Ghousianagar, is busy preparing the Gaddi on which the Ambari will be placed atop Arjuna besides tailoring flaps of clothes to be placed on either sides of the 14 Dasara elephants.

Pasha claims that he learnt the art of tying the Ambari to the elephant from Mahouts after joining the Forest Department and adds that with the help of his father he learnt the art of stitching decorative flaps used in decorating the elephants for the occasion.

Claiming that he had prepared Gaddis for Dasara elephants like Biligiriranga, Rajendra and later Drona, Pasha adds that lot of gunny and grass are required to prepare the Gaddi.

To prevent any inconvenience from citizens, Mahouts and Kavadis of the 14 Dasara elephants and those preparing these costumes are provided security by 24 Police personnel at 14 specially erected sheds.

The district administration had spent more than Rs.12 lakh for purchase of necessary decorative items to be used for decorating these elephants for the grand finale of the Dasara festivities.

However, this year, it is said that approximately Rs. 15 to 16 lakh is required for purchase of decorative items to be used on these elephants on the Jumboo Savari day itself and the State Bank of Mysore which is celebrating its centenary year has come forward to donate Rs.15 lakh for this purpose, said Palace Board Deputy Director T.S. Subramanya.

Whether those taking part in decorating the Dasara elephants get their due recognition or not, the Jumboo Savari leaves an indelible mark in the hearts of those who witness the spectacle.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore