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Touted as Abhimanyu’s alternative, Gopi carries wooden howdah

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Mysuru: Like every year, forest department is grooming second line of elephants who can perform the task of carrying Golden Howdah the main attraction during Jamboo Savari.
Gopi the 38-year-old elephant known for its gentle behaviour is a part of Dasara since last eight years. He is one among the five elephants that has been selected for Dasara this year, albeit being celebrated in a simple manner.
Gopi and another elephant Vikrama are also a part of Navaratri rituals performed every year by Wadiyar’s the erstwhile royal family of Mysuru.
On Wednesday, Gopi was initiated into a new task. Gopi is touted as an alternative to Abhimanyu who is selected to carry 750-kg Golden Howdah this year during Jamboo Savari on October 26. 
After the rehearsal of Abhimanyu, wooden howdah was mounted on Gopi. Apart from the howdah weighing about 280 kg, sand bags weighing 300 kg were also mounted on them. The elephant caretakers took nearly two hours to tie the howdah, under the supervision of veterinarian Dr Nagaraj.
Forest personnel Akram Pasha, Abhimanyu’s mahout Vasantha and other mahouts and kavadis were also a part of the rehearsal. With female (Kumki) elephants Vijaya and Kaveri along side, Gopi performed the task with ease.
Dr Nagaraj opined “every year we prepare second generation of elephants to carry the howdah. This year we have brought only five elephants. Gopi is eligible and fed him sugarcane throughout the rehearsal”.
In the previous years elephants Dhananjaya and Gopalswamy were also trained with Wooden Howdah, recalled Dr Nagaraj.
– Team Mysoorunews
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