Mysore Dasara Festival – A Complete Guide
Mysore, the city of the royal palace, is known for its age-old tradition of celebrating Dussehra or ‘Dasara’ in a lavish and majestic way. It is celebrated for 10 days and concludes with Vijayadashami.
This is the major festival celebrated in Karnataka Sate of South India Region. The preparation for celebrations begins way before and the whole city is decorated beautifully for the entire period. There is music, dance, cultural activities, a delightful procession and a torch-light parade. There is a special music concert performed by the Yuva or youth icons during Dasara.
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When is Mysore Dasara?
This year (2018), the festival will begin on 10th October and continue till 19th October 2018.
History of Mysore Dasara
Mysuru was earlier called as ‘Mahishur’ and which comes from a very interesting story. It is believed that Goddess Chamundeshwari of Chamundi Hill, killed the wicked buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura here, and this victory of good over evil is the driving force behind the festivities. Several deities (devi) are worshipped on the 9 days (Navratri) followed by Vijayadashami which means the 10th day of victory. The whole city unites and prepares itself for the festivities.
The festivities were first started by the Wadiyar king in the year 1610. The Mysore Palace is lit with 100,000 light bulbs and looks splendid on all the 10 days.
The Wadiyar royal couple performs a special puja to Goddess Chamundeshwari in the Chamundi Temple, which marks the beginning of the celebrations. This is then followed by a royal assembly in the Mysuru palace and is attended by the royal family members and special guests amongst other people. The successors of Wadiyar king have religiously followed the tradition and do it with the same fervor till today.
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What Happens During this festival?
Due to the elaborate festivities and entrancing programmes, tourists from all over the world visit Mysuru at this time to enjoy the fete.
The ninth day of Dasara, called as ‘Mahanavami’ is considered to be very auspicious and special worship for the royal sword is done on that day, which is taken on a procession with elephants, camels and royal horses.
On the 10th day i.e. Vijayadashami, the ‘Jambo Savari’ or the procession is taken to the streets of the city and people come in thousands to see the same. The highlight of the procession is the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari, worshipped by the royal couple, which is placed in a golden ‘howdah’ over a magnificent elephant.
Many vibrant paintings and illustrations, dance groups, armed forces, music troupes, legends, the royal traditional families, decorated elephants, camels and horses are all part of the procession which is a delight to watch. The procession starts from the royal palace and stops at the ‘Bannimantap’ where the famous ‘Banni’ tree is worshipped. It is believed that the tree gives power and victory and the warriors of the old times used to worship this tree before going for war to pray for their victory.
On the evening of the Vijayadashami, an event is held at Bannimantap, which is known as ‘Panjina Kavayithu’ or the torch-light parade. The program includes some dare-devil acts and stunts by trained and respected men of the Indian Army, laser show and some marvellous fireworks that light up the night.
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Other Highlights of the Festival
Another major attraction during this time is the exhibition that lasts for 2 months. The exhibition is organized at a huge scale and sells everything that you would want to buy. Gift items, food, clothes, kitchen utilities and plastic items, cosmetics and many more are included.
Other than this, several games and rides instantly attract the kids and adults alike. The exhibition is a great day outing to explore products from all over India and buy them to get a first-hand experience of the cultural diversity and variety of India. The government supports the initiative by encouraging more local vendors to come and sell their products.
Suggested Tour : 12 Days – Mumbai, Karnataka and Kerala Tour
Important Details to Prepare Yourself for your Trip
- Most of the events are free. For the procession and torch-light parade, tickets are required. A limited number of VIP gold cards are released every year and these passes have certain benefits like VIP facilities, free entry to zoo and other attractions during the festival and many more.
- There are many options for a decent stay in all ranges. From guesthouses to hotels, you will find everything and can choose what suits your budget. You would need to book early to get the best price and availability in your choice of rooms.
It is easy and environment friendly to get around Mysore in a rented bicycle.
- These are available at Rs 50 per day and Rs 150 per week. This system has an interesting name ‘TrinTrin’.
Suggested Itinerary: Pride of the South – Golden Chariot
More Details about Golden Chariot:
- Golden Chariot train fares
- Golden Chariot train departure dates
- Online Booking of Golden Chariot train
Also Read: List of Luxury Trains in the World
Mysore Dasara Festival from the illumination of the palace, to the procession and the torch-light parade, the grandeur of the cultural events and the exhibition, everything is worth each penny that you would pay and will be justified once you are in Mysuru to experience the joy of a lifetime!
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