Krishna, Drona, Bheema don’t blink in face of cannon test

Sep 12, 2017

 MYSURU: This is one test where the examiners are far, far more jittery than the examinees. On Friday, as canons went off one after the other near the Varaha Gate of the palace, dozens of police personnel held their breath, watching for the smallest movement that could signal trouble. But the 15 Dasaraelephants stood their ground, just about shuffling a bit, as Tipu Sultan’s canons boomed.
Three debutants – Bheema, Drona and Krishna – passed with flying colours. Krishnais 56 years old and Drona is 35; Bheema, the youngest of the lot, is just 17. Trained with the 12 veterans, the trio have been assigned Dasara duty for the first time. It was also their first time in Mysuru and their first canon test. There was no sign, though, that they were new to the drill.

The cannons are fired 21 times as a gun salute to goddess Chamundeshwari and to mark the start of the Dasara procession.

To make sure the jumbos get used to the sound of the cannons, a team of personnel from the City Armed Reserve conducts firing rehearsals at regular intervals in the run-up to the procession.

A senior official told TOI the new elephants stayed calm during the half-hour practice session of cannon firing. “The jumbos do panic because of the sound of the cannons, but it is common among all animals,” he said. “They were hearing cannons go off after a year so they were a little afraid. But Drona, Bheema and Krishna stayed cool through their first test,” he said.