Thousands watch Mysore Dasara fest
Thousands of people from across the state and country are flocking to this city of palaces to witness the 10-day Dasara festival celebrations that began Saturday with traditional gaiety and pomp.
Blessed with copious rains during the monsoon, assuring a bumper harvest this year, the grand Navaratri (nine nights) fest has acquired special significance for the people of the old Mysore region, especially farmers, rural folk, women and children.
"The state machinery has been working since a month to celebrate the event in grandeur and recreate the splendour the fest has been associated over centuries," Dasara celebrations' committee in-charge V. Ranganath told IANS here.
As the state's cultural capital, 140 km from Bangalore, Mysore has a glorious history with pre-historic sites, monuments, forts, temples, mosques and churches depicting the archaeological, architectural and heritage value of the southern region.
Being closer to the southern part of the rich bio-diverse Western Ghats, the district is endowed with rich flora and fauna, rivers, hillock lakes and enjoys a moderate climate.
"With the majestic Amba Vilas Palace of the Wodeyar kings, their royal mansions, public buildings, gardens, water bodies, open spaces and planned markets, the city reflects the vision of its former Maharajas, their Dewans and talented luminaries of yore," Ranganath recalled.
Though the 10-day fest, symbolising triumph of good over evil, was celebrated by the royals since the Vijayanagara empire in the 16th century and subsequently by the Wodeyar rulers over the last five centuries, the state government has been organising it since 1973 in association with the dynasty's scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar as the state festival (Nada Habba).
"The state government is spending Rs.10 crore to conduct the event on a grand scale, which will culminate in the famous "Jamboo Savari" (caparisoned elephants) procession from the royal palace to Bannimantap grounds across the city Oct 14, marking Vijayadashmi (victorious) day. A torch-light parade will be held in the grounds same night as a fitting finale to the fest.
The celebrations began in Chamundi temple atop the nearby hill where the deity of Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari was worshipped by the royal couple in the presence of state chief minister Siddaramaiah, noted Kannada litterateur Chandrashekara Kambara (chief guest), and special invitees.
"We are expecting over a million people, including about 10,000 foreign tourists to throng the city over the next seven days to witness the religious and cultural programmes, music concerts, film fest, exhibition, flower show, wrestling, adventure sports, food mela (fair) and other of events, including a private durbar by the scion and a visit to illuminated royal palaces," Ranganath said.
Besides the main caparisoned elephant carrying the deity of the goddess (Chamundeshwari) on a 750 kg golden throne (howdah), the victory procession will have dozen decorated jumbos, camels and cavalry on horseback, dance groups, music bands, folklores followed by 42 colourful tableau depicting the various facets of the state, districts and state-run enterprises.
The royal family and its well-lit palaces are the star attraction for the pomp and pageantry on display during the occasion.
"On the auspicious ninth day of the fest (Oct 13) called as Mahanavami, the royal sword is worshipped and taken in a procession involving elephants, camels and horses in the royal palace.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made across the city to ensure peaceful celebrations, with additional forces deployed at all event venues and closed circuit television (cctv) cameras have been installed at vital installations and inter-sections to maintain heightened vigil.
(Posted on 07-10-2013)