Arjuna - The Mysore Dasara Golden Howdah Elephant!
SpeciesAsian elephant
Bornc. 1960 (age 60–61)
Nation fromIndia
OccupationGolden Howdah carrier
Years active2012–2019
Weight6,040 kg
Height2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
Named afterArjuna

Arjuna (born c. 1960) is an Asian elephant who, from 2012 to 2019 has been the lead elephant and the carrier of the Golden Howdah at the Mysore Dasara.[1] He was named after Arjuna, the third of the Pandava brothers from the Hindu epic Mahabharatha.

Mysore Dasara

Arjuna was captured in 1968 in the Khedda operations from the forests of Kakanakote in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. After he was tamed, he was made a regular at the camps that featured processions during the festival of Dasara in Mysore, in the 1990s. After Drona, then the carrier, fell ill prior to the Dasara festivities, Arjuna was made the carrier of the 750-kg Howdah that houses an idol of a Hindu deity Chamundeshwari, for a year, when the former was made the Nishan. That year, before the festivities began, he wavered and charged at the crowd, as the helicopter hovering above raining flower petals on the howdah came low. Eventually, he calmed down to complete the task. The following years, he was made the Nishan to follow Drona.[2]

In 1996, when Arjuna and Bahadur, another Dasara elephant, were taken to Karanji Lake for bathing, Bahadur's mahout Annaiah fell and was trampled upon. It was reported as an accident, but Arjun was blamed upon, for already having been known for his bad temper. He was immediately taken "off-duty" and was confined to the village Balle, at the Nagarhole National Park, before being brought back to the Dasara camp and made the Nishan in 2001 to Balarama, which he remained till 2011.[2] On course of selection of the carrier for festivities in 2012, Arjuna became the leading contender after he beat Balarama in the rehearsals of carrying the howdah, for five kilometers between Mysore Palace and Bannimantap, by 45 minutes, despite going through periods of musth at the time.[3] His choice as the carrier was confirmed by the organizers in October 2012.[4]

Arjuna was carrying the Golden Howdah from 2012 to 2019 (7years). Now his name was dropped over the government order on retiring elephants above 60 years of age and services of such jumbos could be used in any rigorous activities. Arjuna has rested from the duty of carrying the Golden Howdah and has been succeeded by Abhimanyu.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Bennur, Shankar (20 October 2012). "Arjuna to carry golden howdah this year". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b "After 16 yrs, redemption at last for Arjuna". The Times of India. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Arjuna inches closer to be howdah elephant". The Times of India. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  4. ^ Kumar, R. Krishna (15 August 2014). "Know your Dasara elephants". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  5. ^ Kudpaje, Prasthik (5 September 2019). "Retirement of Arjuna". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 20 October 2020.