Sep-Oct are festive months all across India. Navarathri is celebrated from up north to down south. If you really want to experience grandeur and festive cheer, try and plan a small trip to Mysore anytime between Sep 21 to Sep 30 this year. The city comes alive to a vibrant fest of colour, light and much cheer all around. It is worth spending Dasara in Mysore. The weather is pleasant and the mood is electric.
The erstwhile Mysore kingdom started the Dasara celebrations in 1610 AD. This is the 406th year of Mysore Dasara. Dasara palace ceremonies are largely a private affair of the royal family, witnessed by a select audience. Clad in royal attire and traditional headgear, the scion of the royal family, ascends the seven steps to the golden throne – which is assembled according to religious instructions – at a preordained hour and receives obeisance from the public.
The brightly illuminated Mysore Palace and the entire city is a sight to behold. Nearly Rs. 1 crore every year is spent towards maintenance of its illumination alone and more than 25,000 bulbs are replaced every year just before the Dasara festivities. Folk dancers, decorated elephants, horses and camels also form a part of the procession which starts from the Mysore Palace and adjourns at Bannimantap where the Banni tree is worshiped.
Dasara celebrations commence with a pooja performed to the Goddess Chamundeshwari atop the Chamundi Hills in the presence of the Wodeyar royal couple, Ministers and high-ranking officials in the Government of Karnataka, and other invitees.
The state government also arranges music, dance, and folk dance performances, flower and doll shows. The wrestling tournament, which is held in the Devraj Urs stadium adjoining the Dasara exhibition grounds, attracts a sizable audience. Food and film festivals are organised as well.
The culminating program of the Mysore Dasara festivities is the Panjina Kavayatthu (torch-light parade) held on a grand note at the Bannimantap grounds on the outskirts of the city. Exotic fireworks and daredevil stunts on motorcycles by a team of the Indian army add to the excitement.