Hyderabad: After making its appearance in the magnum-opus blockbuster ‘Baahubali’ and ‘Varsham’ movies, Gajalakshmi Meena will make her debut in Bonalu festivities in the city this year.
The 30-year-old pachyderm will replace the famous elephant Rajani during three religious processions to be taken out during Bonalu festivities in the city this time.
Since 2005, Rajani, presently housed at the Nehru Zoological Park, had been taking part in Bonalu and Moharram festivities every year. However, owing to court orders, the services of Rajani could not be utilised this time.
After several rounds of deliberations, the Forest Department has now decided to hire the services of Meena from the Veera Thapasvi Veerabhadra Shiva Charyulu Samsthanam Mutt at Bhichchali in Karnataka for the Bonalu festivities. A team from the Endowments and Forest Departments will be bringing her to the city on Sunday.
Meena will be roped in during separate processions organised as part of the festivities at the historic Sri Ujjaini Mahankali Temple in Secunderabad on July 22, Sri Nalla Pochamma Temple at Sabzi Mandi in Karwan on July 28 and Sri Akkanna Madanna Mahankali Temple at Haribowli in Shahalibanda on July 29.
As the Forest Department has no funds to meet the expenses, members of the organising committee of the temples would be bearing the cost. Instructions have been issued to the Nehru Zoological Park curator to provide a trained veterinary officer with tranquilising equipment and drugs to accompany Meena during the processions.
Sri Ujjaini`Mahankali Temple Assistant Commissioner and Executive Officer S Annapurna said one of the members associated with the temple activities came forward to bear the expenses of Rs 1.40 lakh for bringing Meena to Secunderabad.
A temple official, who took part in discussions with mutt representatives, said Meena was trained in participating in religious processions. When contacted, Sri Akkanna Madanna Mahankali Temple Committee president G Niranjan said they got confirmation from the Endowments Department about providing the services of Meena during the procession at Haribowli in Shahalibanda on July 29.