Bengaluru, (DHNS): Debutant Dasara elephant Bheema is being projected as the successor to Arjuna, the howdah elephant in the Jamboo Savari in the years to come, officials say. Bheema needs at least a decade to perform the lead role as he has to clear numerous tests.
The elephant should have certain qualities to carry on its back the 750-kg golden howdah with the idol of Chamundeshwari inside it during the procession. Bheema has such qualities, but he is too young (17 years) and needs rigorous training.
Qualities such as calm temperament under stressful conditions, good looks with majestic style of walking, flat back are the minimum requirements to qualify as howdah elephant. In addition, the elephant should weigh a minimum of 4,250 kg and should be attractive, with good height.
Veterinarian Dr Nagaraj, who is taking care of Dasara elephants for several years, says elephants look attractive if they are at least 9.5-ft tall. Bheema now weighs 3,410 kg, is 8.4-ft tall and 10-ft long.
Bheema, a friendly jumbo, was captured when he was approximately two years old at Bheemanakatte in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve and was brought up amidst people in Mathigodu elephant camp, HD Kote taluk. This is for the first-time Bheema has been brought to Mysuru to participate in Dasara. He is undergoing training along with regular Dasara jumbos Arjuna, Balarama, Gajendra, Abhimanyu, Kaveri, Vijaya and Varalakshmi, the first batch camping on the premises of the Mysuru Palace.
Officials say Arjuna, aged 57 years, is capable of performing the role of ‘Ambari Aane’ for the next seven to eight years. As per the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, elephants aged above 65 are not supposed to be used for any hard work. Another elephant Sarala, 76, was not selected for the same reason. She had participated in the Jamboo Savari 13 times before 2013.
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