Jumboo Savari: Why the legend of this Abhimanyu will never get old

Abhimanyu during the Jumboo Savari in 2020. COVID-19 restrictions compelled authorities to cut down the Savari from 5 kms to just about 2 kms. Photo: PTI

The Pandavas had already served 12 years in exile, away from their palace and princely lives. But it was the 13th year, which they were worried about the most because it had to be served incognito. The punishment for being discovered was a repeat of the exile term. They could change the guise but what were they to do with their weapons.

Legend has it that the Pandavas decided to hide them all behind a banni tree in Mysuru. For over 200 years, decked up in ceremonial finery, 12 caparisoned elephants have been marching elegantly from the Amba Vilas Palace to that legendary hideout, Bannimantap. Incidentally, all elephants get their names from characters in Mahabharta.

This nearly five-km walk - now world famous as Jumboo Savari - interrupted by dance troupes and lakhs of enthusiastic watchers marks the culmination of the 10-day Dasara festivities on Vijayadashmi in Mysuru.

For the jumbos, who participate in the procession, the preparations begin much in advance with weight-training exercises. Only the strongest from the herd gets to carry the Golden Howdah with the idol of Chamundeshwari - the presiding deity of Mysuru city - on its back.

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