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Elephant Balarama: Wikis


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Balarama is the lead Elephant of the world famous Mysore Dasara procession and carries the statue of goddess Chamundeshwari on the fabled Golden Howdah. Balarama is a 46 year old bull and is accompanied by other Dasara Elephants.


Star Attraction

Of the dozen elephants participating in the procession, Balarama will be the star attraction as he will carry on his back for the fourth year the sacred idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari in the 800-kg golden howdah on the auspicious 10th day of Dasara celebrations.


Balarama was caught in 1987 in the Kattepura forest near somavarpet, Balarama has since taken part in the Dasara procession ten times, carrying the golden howdah five times. He is said to be an introvert, and has to be provided special training so he can withstand the firing of canons that occurs during the festival.


  • Balarama refuses food given to him by anybody else other than his Mahout Sannappa.
  • Balarama succeeded Elephant Drona for carrying the Golden Howdah.
  • Balarama was not the first choice to carry the Howdah after Drona, Elephant Arjuna who was supposed to be the lead Elephant was sidelined for accidentally killing his Mahout. One day Arjuna went to bathe in a river with his buddy Elephant Bahadur and Bahadur's trainer Annayya. While crossing a road, the elephants were startled by a vehicle and in the chaos that ensued, the rider Annayya fell down to the ground, only to be stamped on the his head by Arjuna. He was crushed to death. People opined that an elephant that had killed a man was unfit to carry the religious duties of Dasara. So Arjuna, while being as capable as Drona, never got to be the bearer of the prestige. These days he helps the forest officials trace poachers in the Bandipur National Park forest. Arjuna had the honour of carrying the Chinnada Ambari only once before being replaced by Elephant Balarama.
  • Balarama's Mahout Sannappa once refused to mount Balarama as his family members were stopped by the police from watching him ride his Balarama during Dasara.
  • Balarama gets special attention during Dasara as it carries the golden howdah.

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