Mysore Dasara Celebrations

Mysore Dasara, Mysore Dusshera

Dasara is a big festival in India, which is celebrated with lot of zeal and enthusiasm by one and all. In North India Dasara is marked by burning of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Indrajeet. The most famous one being the effigies burnt at Ram Leela Maidan. Similarly in South India of all the celebrations of Dasara, the celebrations at Mysore in the state of Karnataka are famous. Many know it as Mysore Dasara. For all the ten days of Dasara the Mysore Palace is lit with lights and is a delightful sight to see. Around one lakh bulbs are used to light the Mysore palace.
Mysore Dasara is a ten day long festival and the celebrations date back to 1610, when the Dasara celebrations were first started by Wodeyar King, Raja Wodeyar I. From then on it has become a tradition, which is even followed today.
The legacy of the royal family being a part of the Mysore Dasara is still being followed and the present generation of the royal family would take part in the festivities. Now the present heir is Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, who would take part as the king.
The Dasara festivities start with the royal couple performing special prayers to Goddess Chamundi, the presiding deity at Chamundi Hill. After the puja is performed a tradition of conducting the royal darbar(court) which was started by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1805, is still followed. The royal darbar is conducted at the Mysore Palace were the relatives of the royal family, people specially invited, officals and the people of Mysore would attend.

Ayudha Puja on Maha Navami

On Maha Navami the ninth day of the Dasara Ayudha Puja is performed. As a part of the Ayudha Puja the royal sword is worshipped and a procession is taken out displaying the royal sword. The procession will include Elephants, horses, camels along with artists from different parts of country etc.

Celebrations on Vijayadasami

There is another big procession, which will be taken out on Vijayadasami , the tenth day of Dasara. As per the tradition of Mysore Dasara, the King would visit the Bannimanatap which is popularly known as Panjina Kavayithu (torch-light parade).

The idol of Goddess Chamundi, which was being worshiped for nine days starting from day one of Dasara, is taken out in a procession to Bannimantap in a Golden Howda mounted on a decorated Elephant. The idol on the Elephant is the main attraction of the procession. The procession would include music bands of different types, artists from various parts of the country, local artists, folklore, armed forces, royal family and special invitees and other dignitaries, Camels, Horses and decorated Elephants. The procession would end at the Bannimantap where special puja is performed to the Banni tree or the Sami tree. Kings would also pray to the Banni Tree before they leave for a battle and would pray for victory. It is believed that by worshipping the Banni tree one would be victorious.

The story behind worshipping Banni tree on Vijayadasami can be read at Legend of worshipping Semi tree.

Exhibition as a part of Mysore Dasara

Another major attraction during the celebrations of Mysore Dasara is the Grand Mysore Exhibition, which is held at the Exhibition ground present just opposite to the Mysore Palace. The Exhibition will consist of stalls, which sell clothes to latest appliances. There is also a game zone, which has games for both adult and children. The exhibition would attract a lot of people.

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