Ujjain : With advent of time, apex religious institutes or the akharas have changed too. As the times are changing the peshwayi procession of akharas made for Simhastha Kumbh mela are changing too. Horses, Camels and Elephants were always an integral part of the peshwayi procession, but these animals now a day performs feats of dance, which have become new crowd puller.
Peshwayi procession is the ritual where the Sadhu Sanyasis enter the city to reach upon the banks of holy river Kshipra. In the procession Naga Sanyasis, Mandleshwars and senior seers take part, and the public throngs in to see and take their blessings. The recent peshwayis happened to be lacklustre from the side of sadhus, due to their low presence. So the akharas have now turned to band parties and the trained domesticated animals to attract the crowd.
Stud farm owners of Indore are supplying to the most of akharas the dancing horses. One of the farm owners Jitendra Thakur says, “All the akharas demand only white horses and that too only a mare.” With the increasing demand we have even called horses from nearby areas. He said supplying horses bring them good money, which they could not have earned in marriage procession. He said special training on commands of jockey is given to the horses, he said although we try least to use a leash, but being an animal words are not enough.
Camels adorned with intricate bead works and colourful cloth pieces treading in-formation are the new bling of procession. These peculiar animals are speciality of Rajasthan and owners had settled in the holy city months ago. A camel performs on an average cost of Rs 5000-8000 for a day in peshwayi. These camels are trained to hop and bound on commands of rider. Dashrath owner of a herd residing in city said, “The camels were trained to fetch garland and offer it to a seer.”
This feat alone earns him thousands sometime. Seers sitting in howdah atop elephant are the royalty an akhara cannot miss, only senior seers and mandleshwars of the akhara are entitled to ride the elephant. Howdahs have been used by mahants for centuries now, and still they are the one thing that makes a procession grand. The only presence of elephant is enough for crowd to loom around and take blessings from the Gajraja.
At the same time Mahaouts cash mint as the devotees do not come empty handed to the ride of lord Ganesha. They offer small denominations which reach to Mahaout by the trunk of elephant.