The elephants are an integral part of the Mysore Dasara
Festival. The elephants form the core of the Mysore
Dasara procession on the Vijayadashami
day. The lead elephant
carries the Golden Howdah
) with the Goddess Chamundeshwari
The majestic tamed and domesticated elephant herd is a major attraction of the Mysore Dasara
. It shows the mastery of man over the mighty animal. Children and adults alike admire the great beasts with fascination on their arrival to Mysore
city. There are usually 12 elephants but the number could vary.
The Elephants start arriving to Mysore
city in groups. They arrive to Mysore a month or so before the start of the actual festivities and they undergo practice for their march on the final day. The elephants are accompanied by their respective keepers or Mahouts
. The elephants are usually brought in trucks and are occasionally walked the 70-km distance from their home base in the Nagarahole National Park
to Mysore. Villagers greet the sacred animals all along their designated trekking route. As the each party of pachyderms arrive at the Veerana Hosahalli forest checkpost in Hunsur
taluk, from the forest, they are received by the District
Minister, a host of officials and prominent persons from Mysore and people from nearby villagers. The villagers perform folk dances, and beat drums and sing songs and welcome the elephants. This in keeping with the royal tradition of the Mysore Maharajas.