Tinged with the grandeur of royalty and the perfect mix of history with culture, the Mysore Dussehra (Dasara as it is commonly called) is a must-experience for all. Regarded as the royal state festival of Karnataka, it is more of a tradition continued by the Wodeyar dynasty.
It is the day when the culturally-enriched, beautiful Mysore city is decorated elaborately. The festivity is replete with adorned houses, streets and bustling markets. The splendid celebration, with royal ceremonies, attracts lots of domestic as well as international tourists from all over. People of Mysore celebrate Dussehra with lots of enthusiasm and religious fervor and the royal rituals add a lot of grandeur to it.
This year the Dasara festival will be from 17th October till 27th October 2020, the last day being Vijayadashami. The architecturally renowned Mysore palace is a spectacular sight on this day. The Government of Karnataka makes arrangements for special cultural and religious performances and competitions throughout the festival. You can see amazing classical dance performances, Hindustani music recitals, music concerts, experience the food festival, and also go shopping at the festive fair and exhibitions for souvenirs.
One amazing sight on this day is the Mysore palace, which is illuminated for two hours in the evening for the first eight days of Navratri and on Dasara for three hours. The illumination is credited to a mammoth series of 97,000 incandescent lamps that make the silhouette of the palace the most spectacular sight to behold amongst the celebrations and is an absolute delight for tourists.
Dasara celebrations on the last day start with the royal couple offering puja to Goddess Chamundeshwari at the temple on the Chamundi Hills where the royal family and state officials are present too. Soon follows a grand procession (Jamboo Savari) after the worship. The idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden platform on an elephant.
Tourists from all over flock to witness these celebrations highlighted by long cavalcades of ornate elephants, horses and camels that form an important part of the march. Several folk dancers and music by Police bands and vibrant tableaux weave magic in the procession that concludes at Bannimantap, where the Banni tree (Prosopis spicigera) is worshiped. One can also go ahead and be a part of the Panjina Kavayatthu (torch-light parade) at night that takes place at the Bannimantap grounds to mark the culmination of the Dasara festival. Spectators, specially little children love the amazing firework display, laser show and daredevil show by Indian Army bike riders.
While the festival ends here, it is the exhibition at the Doddakere Maidan opposite to the Mysore Palace, which starts on Dasara and continues for around two months that excited every tourist. One can find numerous stalls selling all types of stuff, joyrides and games. It not just highlights the tradition and culture of Karnataka but the whole country. Exhibitors come in from many parts of India to showcase their products. The year 2016 has been launched as a plastic-free Dasara celebrations. People visiting the fair with the whole family can find battery operated vehicles for elderly and disabled people,to go around with ease.
The Dasara day (25th Oct 2020) will see Mysore in its splendid glory and is a must visit for you to experience the awesome festivities injecting effervescence in the local community.