Well-known danseuse Dr. Veena Murthy Vijay choreographed a day long celebration of Balarama's story to an audience of over 3000 school children at the renowned performance theater, Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Bangalore on November 22 2018. Envisioned by Dr. Yellappa Reddy, eminent environmentalist and conservation leader of India, and based entirely on the book, Balarama's Story: An Elepahant's Journey, fifty five minutes dance ballet had over 50 artists, all of them tutored by Dr. Veena Murthy Vijay creating the magic of Balarama to the young audience.
The Introduction of the Kannada Version
On the inaugural day of Dasara festival, Chief minister of Karnataka Mr. H D Kumaraswamy released the Kannada version of “Balarama’s story_An elephant’s journey” book, at the Royal Palace of Mysore. The grand event was graced with the presence of Mrs. Sudha Murty, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation.
A stamp cover dedicated to Balarama was also unveiled on the same stage.
D K Bhaskar and Alladi Jayasri had written this book in English inspired by the life of Dasara elephant Balarama which has successfully taken part in Dasara festivities for more than 20 years. In this period, he carried the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari on the fabled Golden Howdah as part of Jumboo Savari, 13 times, before he retired from the ranks.
The Kannada version was released on Tuesday while the English edition was launched in the US last month.
Maharaja of Mysore, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, has written the foreword. In his introduction, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar says, “The book highlights the importance of the elephant to the sub-continent and its traditions. The challenge is to maintain a balance between modernity and heritage. We need to see how we can give back to the elephants that have given us so much”.
Currently, Balarama is leading a retired life in Mattigodu elephant camp in Nagarhole.
The book consists of 90 colorful illustrations. I am extremely grateful to Bhaskar Dk , Rajeshshrivana Acharya and CLIC Abroad for giving this opportunity. Thank you everyone for the support and encouragement.
— with Sahanashree Shettigar.
In the city of Mysore, today marks the 10th day of Dasara Celebration. celebrates the victory of good over evil. The highlight of the last day is the spectacular parade with the leading elephant carrying the golden ambari. A tradition that has lived on for over 400 years started by the famous Wadiyar kings of Mysore kingdom. This is a painting of the lead elephant on the walls inside the beautiful Mysore Palace. To know all about the elephant Balarama, one that has carried the golden ambari 13 times in his life time, and now living a happy retired life in the Nagarhole National Park.
The Dasara elephant gets his own story book this festive season – one that relives his happy life in the forest, as well as draws attention to captivity and conservation
From a forest to a palace, an elephant’s journey can be pretty complicated and full of uncomfortable instances. But in its child-friendly but real-world telling,Balarama’s Story – An Elephant’s Journey is a book that handholds a child through the gamut of an elephant’s life – here the real life of elephant Balarama.
How the book came to be:
It has been a couple of years in the making. Good friend Bhaskar, a nature photographer and now a documentary film-maker with the award-winning “Elephants In The Coffee”, and passionate about the elephant, ... caught up with me in America . He then proceeded to nag me, bug me and coax me into writing this story for children. ....suddenly, there he was, Baby Balarama, naughty, adorable, and full of dreams about a beautiful life in the forest, playing and growing up in Nagarahole forest. It was agonizing to have to write about his capture, the shattering of his dreams, and his journey to Mysore where he became the lead elephant, carrying the Ambari in the Vijayadashami procession.
For Bhaskar, this book is “a small way to preserve the cultural relevance of elephants and our understanding of these gentle giants. For me, it was a a ramble through the world of elephants, learning how they live , love and even mourn the death of a loved one. A celebration of the elephant’s place in our culture, mythology, religion, and at the same time the sombre realization that the future of the elephant, and its home, and by extension, this planet which is our home is not as grand as its past.