Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mysore Dasara

Mysore Dasara is a Royal Festival Celebrating victory of Truth over Evil. Legend has it that the Goddess Chamundeshwari or Durga slew the demon Mahishasura on Vijayadashami day. Dasara is a 10-day festival in the region culminating on Vijayadashami or tenth day. The day marks the successful conclusion of the preceding nine days called as Navarathri.

The preceding nine days of Navarathri have celebrations starting only after six days. The sixth day is in honour of goddess Saraswathi. Eighth day is dedicated to Durga and Ninth day is for Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. On tenth day a grand spectacular Procession is held which starts from Mysore Palace and ends in Bannimantap.

The State Festival
The Mysore Dasara festival was celebrated as the Nadahabba or the State Festival by the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore for over 600 years, the festival was a continuation of the festival of much larger scale celebrated by the Mighty Vijayanagar emperors. After the formation of Karnataka State the State Government has taken over the responsibility of conducting the Dasara Festival and has been declared as the State festival or Nadahabba. During the month long celebrations all the schools and colleges are given offical state holidays.

The Royal Family
The descendent of the royal family the current maharaja of Mysore Sikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wodeyar holds a private darbar in the Mysore Palace and the royal family members are accorded the due respects as in the old days and they take part activelt in the dasara festivities. The royal family of Mysore performs special Pooja on the occasion of Dasara.

Festivities and Cultural Programmes
The entire Mysore City is gaily decorated and illuminated. The Palace and other important buildings are illuminated. Cultural programmes by famous artists are arranged in the Palace along with Sports, Wrestling, Poet's meet, Food Festival, Film Festival witnessed by a large number of people. Dasara Exhibition is arranged in the Doddakere Maidana, by the Karnataka Exhibition Authority, where the public and private sector industries, leading business establishments, State Government departments put up their stalls to promote industrial and corporate business for months.

Jambu Savari
When the cannons are fired and the 12-gun salute sounds to signal the beginning of the Vijayadashami procession , The three Dasara Elephants, along with nine others led by Balarama, will hog the limelight. Jambu Savari means ride on the Elephant, in the days of the Kingdom of Mysore the Maharaja would do the Jambu Savari on the culmination of the dasara celebrations sitting on the Famous Golden Howdah popularly known as Chinnada Ambari in Kannada. But now the Maharaja is being replaced by the statue of Goddess Chamundeshwari the state goddess or Nadadevathe.


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