India, land of customs and traditions
Numerous festivals are celebrated across the 29 states of India. Some of these festivals are held locally within the states and some are all over India.
Dasara is one such popular festival which is celebrated across the length and breadth of the country. The festival is spread over 9-10 days depending on the region as different states have their own interpretation of the festival. Schools and public offices remain closed for a week, which gives the entire family, a chance to celebrate and pay their obeisance together.
Mysore, apart from being famous for its palaces and gardens, is also famous for its Dasara. It has been an age old tradition of the Vijayanagar and Wodeyar kings to observe the festival right from the 15th century. The people of Mysore celebrate the festival as a victory of good over evil; with the triumph of Goddess Chamundeshwari over Mahishasura. The festival is celebrated in Mysore as a Nadahabba (State Festival) and many organisations work tirelessly to make sure that the massive event is conducted without any hassles.
Most tourists reach Mysore by road from Bangalore. So, if you’ve arrived in the Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore, you can hire a taxi online from Bangalore Airport to Mysore and reach Mysore directly without having to search for local car rentals after your arrival in Bangalore.
Parades of torches and elephants
The main attraction of the celebrations is the Jamboo Savari. This is a procession of elephants in which Goddess Chamundeshwari’s idol is carried by a lead elephant on a Golden Howdah. It is a treat to watch these well-decorated elephants marching graciously as all the elephants are trained for the procession since years. Folk dancers and musicians also form a part of the procession. The procession starts from the Mysore Palace and ends at the Bannimantap. Here, a Banyan tree is worshipped after which a parade of torches takes place.
Then there is the Dasara Exhibition which is more like a fair where many items like kitchenware, clothes, toys and eateries are sold in stalls. There is also an amusement section where kids can have a great time on the toy train and the Ferris wheel. Here, one is reminded of the typical Indian mela. The stall set up by the sericulture department is a must-visit as it is fascinating to see the process of preparing beautiful silk sarees from live silkworms.
Musicians and dancers from all around the country, enthrall with their performances throughout the 10 days of the festival. Wrestling bouts involving wrestlers from all over the country are conducted in a competition known as the Kusti Spardhe. The highlight of the evenings on all 10 days of the festival is the Mysore Palace Lighting. The entire palace is lit by thousands of light bulbs which is an awesome sight to behold.
In 2014, the Mysore Dasara is going to be held from September 25th. Book early to get a room in one of Mysore’s best hotels.