One of the most popular attractions of Mysore, the Dasara festivity is a sheer delight. To savor and be a part of these celebrations, a huge number of travelers visit Mysore at this time.
Mysore Dasara has the honor of being the State Festival or Naada Habba of the state of Karnatak. The city, over the years, has been extremely popular for its splendid festivities held at the Dasara duration. Held all around India, the celebration of this festival can be traced back to the Puranas. In the Southern region, the festival gain importance in the 15th century, during the reign of Vijayanagar rulers. The ruling dynasty of Mysore, the Wodeyars continued this celebration with even more excitement, under the rule of Raja Wodeyar in 1610 at Srirangapatanam.
When and Why is it celebrated?
Also known as ‘Vijayadashmi’, it is celebrated every year on the 10th day of Narvatra festival, in the months of September-October. According to Hindu mythology, this festival is a celebration and commemoration of the victory of good over evil when Goddess Chamundeshwari slayed the demon Mahishasura.
Mysore Dasara festivities mainly are a private affair of the Wodeyars and can be attended by a selected audience. At a particular time, wearing royal clothes and the traditional headgear, the head of the royal family, walks towards the golden royal throne, to receive the wishes of the public. Special tune, composed by the Court musicians is then played.
At this time, Amba Vilas Palace or the Mysore Palace are illuminated with beautiful lights, along with the whole of city. Several religious as well as cultural programs, depicting the culture, music and dance of Karnataka, are held. These events are held in the front of the Palace. Popular performers are invited for the same. The festivities begin with a special Pooja of the Goddess Chamundeshwari in a temple on the top of the Chamundi Hills. This pooja is attended by the royal couple, high-ranking officials of Karnataka Govt., Ministers and other invitees.
Doll shows and flower exhibitions are the other highlights. Do not miss the very special wrestling tournament that is organized at the Devraj Urs stadium, located beside the exhibition grounds. Wrestlers from all around the country take part in this competition. A Film Festival and a Food Festival are also part of the Dasara celebrations in Mysore.
Organized at the Doddakere Maidan, opposite the Mysore Palace, the Dasara exhibition is the other highlight. It starts during Dasara and continue for a duration of around 2 months. This exhibitions has stalls selling stuff like food, glass ware, plastic ware, and clothing. There are amusement rides and stalls for games. There are stalls by the state’s government too.
Concluding the festivities
A vibrant Dasara procession, known as Jamboo Savari, mark the end of the Dasara celebrations. The magnificence and opulence of this event is popular all around the world. During this event, the beautiful idol of Goddess Chamundaeshwari is kept on the top of elephant, in a golden-colored howdah that is more than 750 kg. Before independence, instead of the idol, the king himself used to sit on the howdah.
A colorful montage is made especially by the State organized for the procession. Musical bands and mounted guards in royal clothes, belonging to the Karnataka Police make the procession, a musical one. Starting at the Mysore Palace, the procession comes to an end at the Banni mantap where a Banni tree is worshiped. Bejeweled elephants and camels, and fold dancers are also a part of this colorful Dasara procession. The distance between the starting and ending point of the festival is 2.5 km.
In the end, a torch-light parade or the Panjina Kavayatthu is held at the Banni Mantap ground, which is placed on the outskirts of Mysore. A special laser show has been added to this parade recently. Thrilling motorcycle stunts by Indian Army and fireworks are also a part of this parade.