The Traditions of Mysore Dasara Festival

When the air begins to tingle and a whole city is beginning to get torn, this can only mean one thing in Mysore. The biggest festival of the year is approaching. Everyone gets into joyous tension at the Mysuru Dasara festival. Dasara is the tenth day after Navaratri and Durga Puja. So you see, it is a very long festival and the children in the country get almost 1-2 weeks vacation.

The Mysore Dusshera takes place between September and October which lasts 10 days. It get held as Naada Habba, or State Festival in Karkataka. The last day of Vijayadashami gets celebrated with great intensity. According to legend, Vijayadashami marks the victory of truth over evil. It was the day the goddess Chamundeshwari slayed Mahishasura.

Mysore Dasara got started with the Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1565 AD). For the Maharajas it was the opportunity to display the wealth and the state's military power. It got inherited by the local feudal lords, the Wodeyar, who have maintained until the present day.

After the fall of Tipu Sultan in 1799, Wodeyar introduced the public hearing durbar. this special Durbar was for British and renowned European guests. They made the Dasara celebrations in Mysore the world-famous event of the season. The 26 frescoes that adorn the Kalyana Mantapa in the palace of Mysore bring back the splendor of time.

In 1947, many changes got introduced. The Maharaja sitting on a golden howdah got replaced by the idol of Chamundeswari. And yet, for some, it is still possible to have a little taste of past times today.

Everything began weeks in advance. It is difficult and expensive to get rooms during this time. 2 weeks before the start of the festival people install lights throughout the city. Trees begin to line the streets in the brightest lights in the evening. Every ordinary roundabout became a spectacle of light.

Every evening, I was able to admire more and more how chic the city was. During the day roads and paths got repaired, every house cleaned out, and here and there one lent a new coat of paint. There was a joyous mood that set me in euphoric expectation, for the great festival.

The festival itself consisted of many locations, with cultural and other different events. Besides, Mysore was the highlight for many. The big cinema should conclude at the end. Besides the procession, the festival takes time to many other activities. There are group dances, live music bands, and decorated elephants look spectacular.

The horses and elephants have a fundamental importance in the procession. It is possible to see them in action decorated with ceremonial clothes.

In Bannimantap we enjoy the Panjina Kavayatthu, a show with torches that is worth seeing. But in general, the ten days of the Mysore Dasara have enough activities to make us have a good time.

At the same time, a large Dasara sports festival take place in the Mysore Stadium. Like the Olympic Games, there is a torch relay from Chamundi Hill to the stadium. The torch is lit in the temple on the Chamundi Hill. It was not as spectacular as advertised, but was an impressive experience.

Chamundi Hill was all the more beautiful for us all. We had food from one of the food stalls. We see the sunset from the Chamundi Hill, walk around Karanji Lake, visit the market. We also see the flowers in a beautiful garden.

It was a relaxed and beautiful as it was for me the first Mysore Dasara experience. The day after, finally came, the great closing day. The divinity Chamundi sat on a golden throne carried by an elephant in the parade. In honor of this deity, the whole spectacle took place at all. Since the myth of the creation of this god was playing in Mysore, the city was, of course, more than crowded.

There are a few spectator seats on the edge of the parade and in front of the palace. The whole thing starts, but we did not have tickets and so we went to a street with stairs at the side. We wait for the parade and also had a wonderful view of the happenings. The parade itself lasted a good 2 hours and was an impressive and beautiful experience.

One bear a golden throne (the Howdah) carrying the statue of the goddess Chamundeswari. There were drummers, dancers, stilt walkers and warriors with weighing scales. I now know that the call of Dasara in Mysore does not come from somewhere.

At nightfall, the famous Mysore palace got illuminated with lakhs of bulbs. We get transported to Disneyland.