Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book a hotel in mysore for mysore dasara festival and get a flight ticket free travel needs end here
Why is Dassera celebrated?
Dassera or Navaratri celebrated all over India to commemorate the victory of good over evil. The festival is held over a period of 9 nights and 10 days.

During the last day of Vijayadashami ("victorius 10th day"), images of the demon (rakshasa) is burned (in other parts of the country). Later sweets and savories are distributed among the people to herald the victory.

History of the Dassera in Mysore

Mysore Palace all lit up during the DasaraThe Dasara festivities were first started by the Wodeyar King, Raja Wodeyar I in the year 1610. The Mysore Palace is lit up on all the 10 days of Dasara.

The festivities begin with the Wodeyar royal couple performing a special puja to Goddess Chamundeshwari in the Chamundi Temple located on the top of Chamundi Hill at Mysore. This would be followed by a special durbar (royal assembly).

It was during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in the year 1805, when the king started the tradition of having a special durbar in the Mysore Palace during Dasara; which was attended by members of the royal family, special invitees, officials and the masses.

This tradition has been continued even now with the current scion of the Wodeyar family, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar holding a private durbar during Dasara.

During the last few years, chief ministers of Karnataka visit Mysore and garland the idol of the Goddess that is carried by a specially selected elephant.

(Photo Credit: ananth)

What is so special about the Dussehra festival in Mysore?
Of all the places in India celebrating the Dasara festival, the one at Mysore is the grandest and the mose famous. It is accorded as "Nada Habba" (festival of the country) by the Karnataka government and the tourism department promotes this to visitors.

In Mysore, Navaratri is celebrated to signify the killing of Mahishasura by the Goddess Chamundeshwari.

The ninth day of Dussehra called as Mahanavami is also an auspicious day on which the royal sword is worshipped and is taken on a procession involving elephants, camels and horses.

Brilliantly lit up palaces, decorated arches, festooned streets, colorful costumes and cultural shows, classical music, folk dances like Bharatha Natyam, Yakshagana, Huthari, Torch Light Parade, Theppothsawa ...the list goes on. It is truly a wonderful time.

The Golu or exhibition of toys at homes
Update: Watch 2008 Dasara Kolu Photos in a nice slideshow

A special celebration happens at homes in Karnataka and in Tamil

Dasara Golu (Kolu) - Doll FestivalNadu, women make an exhibition of toys which is called a Dasara Golu (in Tamil) or Bombe Habba (in Kannada).

A tableaux or a stand made out wood or iron is created in the form of steps (like that in a staircase).

On these steps, various dolls resembling gods and goddesses and of various events (like Mahabharata, Ramayana, Dasavatharam) are arranged on these steps. Children and women also created miniature theme parks near the Golu.

Each day the Golu is worshipped and in the evening, women invite thier friends and neighbors and distribute prasadams (called Sundal - made out of fried chickpeas and ground coconut) along with a sweet variety.

The Golu is hugely popular in Mysore and in other traditional South Indian cities like Bangalore and Chennai.

Just before Vijaya Dashami (the tenth day) the idols are made to lie flat (to signify the end of the Dassera) and the next day, they are all removed after the Pujas (rituals).

Jumbo Savaari or the procession of the Elephants
During the last day of the festival (Vijaya Dashami), a grand procession is held in the streets of Mysore city.

It starts at the Mysore Palace, where the royal Wodeyar couple and others (Chief Minister of Karnataka and other dignitaries) perform Puja (rituals) seeking blessings from Goddess Chamundeswari). The Goddess is placed on a golden hood (mantapa) or howdah, on a specially chosen elephant.

Dasara Jumbo SavaariThis elephant then accompanies a group of other elephants along with decorated horses, and stately coaches, troops in ceremonial uniforms, folk dancers and colorful floats. These pass through major roads in Mysore before finally ending at Bannimantap (a locality in Mysore). Bannimantap is the place where the banni tree (Prosopis spicigera) is worshipped.

According to a legend of the Mahabharata, banni tree was used by the Pandavas to hide their arms during their one-year period of Agnatavasa (living life incognito). Before undertaking any warfare, the kings traditionally worshipped this tree to help them emerge victorious in the war.

The Dasara festivities would culminate on the night of Vijayadashami with an event held in the grounds at Bannimantap called as Panjina Kavayatthu (torch-light parade). There is also a fireworks display in the grounds for a visual treat.

(Photo Credit: kalyan)

Exhibition and Carnival opposite the Mysore Palace
Mysore takes a carnival and festive atmosphere during the Dassera festival. Opposite to the Mysore Palace, at the exhibition grounds, a fair is setup.

Various stalls which sell items like clothes, plastic items, kitchenware, cosmetics and eatables are set up and they attract a significant number of people.

A play area containing attractions like ferris-wheel is also present to provide entertainment to the people. Various Governmental agencies setup stalls to signify the achievements and projects that they have undertaken.

Cultural festivities during Navaratri
During the 10 days of the festival, art, music and dance shows are held all over Mysore city. Various artists (classical, folk, and western) arrive at the city and perform, showcasing the culture of Karnataka and from other regions of India. A wrestling competition is also held during this time.

Come see this unique festival
The Mysore Dassera (Dasara) is a must-see and unique festival of Karnataka. You get to see and experience the culture of this region at a single location for 10 days of the year. So come and see Mysore!

Tips for Visitors
1.Mysore is crowded during the Dassera festivities. It is advisable to book hotels a month in advance to avoid the rush and if you're planning to stay there.
2.You will have to buy tickets if you wish to see the Jumbo Savaari procession. They are usually priced between Rs 200/- and Rs 1000/-
3.You can check the official website of the Mysore Dasara here (It's currently not updated and I'm hoping it'll be done so, before the Dasara). You can see the event calendar and book tickets for various events.
4.Special Dasara Buses and Trains are arranged by the government during the festival. You could use Bangalore as the base and travel to Mysore to watch the celebrations.
•See tourist Attractions in Mysore
•Learn about Mysuru's history
•Go back to Mysore Travel and Holiday Guide

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