Dussehra is a festival that is celebrated in every nook and corner of India and in many creative interpretations. Karnataka is one such state that celebrates the festival in a grand style and with a royal charm. Mysore Dasara is the name by which people distinguish this fiesta of celebrating good over evil in the state of Karnataka.
The venue for the festival is Mysuru palace and every preparation from major to minor is taken care of by the royal family, every year. Here, the celebration continues for 10 days and is enjoyed with much zeal and great fervor by classes and masses alike.
History of Mysuru Dasara
Legends have it that Mysore was named after the demon King Mahishasura who was killed by Goddess Durga. In the local language and as per the folk tales Goddess Durga is also known as Goddess Chamundeshwari, who belongs to Chamundi Hill in Karnataka.
Mysuru Dasara has been an innate part of the history and culture of Karnataka. The festival was started by Raja Wadiyar I, in the year 1610 and since then it has been celebrated with similar zest and zeal every year.
After the fall of the Vijaynagar empire came the Wadiyar empire whose rulers contributed a lot to preserve the art and the culture of the place.
Highlights of Mysuru Dasara
On Vijayadashami, the last day of Dasara, the festival is marked by processions with decorated elephants known as Jamboo Savari. These decorated elephants are trained throughout the year for this festival, to carry the idols of Goddess Chanundeshwari during the procession. The idols are worshipped by the royal couple and the chief invitees before they are taken around in the city. The festival culminates at Bannimantap.
Bannimantap is a place where a Bann tree is located. Locals believe that Pandavas from the Mahabharata used to hide their weapons here when they were living in the jungle with false identities which is popularly known as a period of Agnatavasa.
After performing the rituals at Bannimantap, people head towards the ground opposite the Mysuru Palace to witness the surreal torch-light parade. This torch-light parade is also known as Panjina Kavayitha and is a great crowd puller.
This parade, on the 10th day, is the biggest highlight because it includes many musicians, dance groups, folk artists, and significant people from all walks of life. There are exhibitions right in front of Mysore Palace which is filled with stalls of clothes, food, handicrafts, etc. The festival is a must-visit for you when you are there in the state.
Major Attractions of Mysuru Dasara
1. The Best for the Last, Jamboo Savari
Elephants undergo strict training throughout the year so that they can carry out the grand procession in a calm and composed manner. These elephants are adorned with natural paints and accessories.
2. The Decked up Royal Palace
Reports and the locals suggest that approximately 100,000 bulbs light up the royal palace during this period. People often visit the palace with their friends and families to admire the magnificent beauty of royalty.
3. Delicacies of Mysore and Dasara
Food Mela is another major highlight of this festival in Mysuru. The mela is an opportunity for the locals and the visitors to taste some exotic local dishes like Shavige Payasa (Kheer), Huli Thovve (Gravy), Appi Payasa (Dessert), Kattina Saaru (Sweet Gravy), Mysore Pak (Dessert), PakadaginaChiroti (Dessert) along with many other local dishes that are prepared during Dasara.
Apart from shopping stalls and food stalls, the exhibition also has a lot of adventure and exciting activities to cheer up the audience and offer the visitors a memorable visit. Cycling, wrestling, film festivals, and pet shows are also a part of the festivities that continue for 10 days.
5. Bombe Habba
Bombe Habba or Dasarsa Doll is another highlight of the Dasara festivities in Mysuru. As per an old tradition, the dolls are displayed and arranging on odd steps of a platform (7, 9, 11), and these steps symbolize the nine days of this grand celebration.
Mysuru is a popular city down south that holds a rich heritage, culture, and numerous tourist destinations that are worth exploring. Tourists from all across the country arrive here to witness the vibrant culture of the city and its major festivals. Mysore is approximately 2,300km, 1,000km, 2,000km, and 140 km away from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively.
Traveling by road always brings in many options like traveling by state-owned or private inter-state tourist buses or by personal vehicles such as cars or bikes. Road travel also gives you the opportunity to explore the cities, towns, villages, and farms during the journey. In case you are making plans for a road trip to Mysore then here is a piece of information that will help you set up the itinerary. Tourists arriving from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru are required to take NH 44, NH 47, NH 16, and Mysore Road to reach the city.
Mysore is well-connected with trains and the Mysore Junction Train station is hardly 2 km from the city center. Swarna Jayanthi, Mysore Express, Chamundi Express, and Malgudi Express are a few popular trains in which one may make the reservation to witness the grand and unique Dasara celebration in this part of India. From the railway station, visitors may take a cab or bus to reach the desired location in the city.
The nearest airport to the city is the New Bangalore International Airport which is around 180 km from the city. One may take a cab or public bus to reach the desired destination or the Mysuru palace in the Mysuru city. The airport operates regular domestic and international flights hence one will not face any inconvenience in booking flights from any metropolitan city of India.