Dasara (a.k.a. Dusharah) is celebrated typically in October. The mode and the fervor vary by a great deal across the subcontinent.
Different parts of
Known for its magnificent Palaces and Majestic buildings, sprawling gardens and tree lined boulevards, shimmering silks and Sandalwood, the ‘City Royale’ –
I hail from
The festival falls in September/October every year and comprises nine nights of worship and celebration, called Navaratri. The tenth and concluding day is called Vijayadasami, signifying the slaying of the demon Mahishasura by Mahishasuramardini, the Goddess Chamundeswari or Durga, the principal deity of the maharajas. Legend has it that
Dasara became a Naada Habba (or people's festival) in the 14th century, during the reign of the Vijayanagar kings (1336 A.D. to 1565 A.D.).
On the first day of the Navratri, the king, after a ceremonial bath, worships the family deity in the palace and enters the durbar to the accompaniment of sacred chants and music. He worships the navagrahas (nine sacred deities) and the sacred `kalasa'. Then he ascends the throne at an auspicious moment after going around it three times. The palace lights are lit and a 21-gun salute is given as the royal insignia and sword are presented to him.
Srikantadutta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the scion of the royal family, on the throne during Dasara celebrations
This year Dasara is being celebrated from the 12th October to the 21st October. During Dasara, the entire City is decorated and illuminated. Cultural programmes by famous artists are arranged in the Palace along with Sports, Wrestling, Poet's meet, Food Festival, Film Festival witnessed by a large number of people. Every year a colourful and unique Flower show is also for public display.
The king worships the Goddess Saraswathi on the seventh day and Mahisasuramardini on the eighth. On Mahanavami, the royal sword is worshipped ceremoniously and all the weapons are taken out in a procession of the army, elephants, horses, camels and the royal retinue. Ceremonies are held on the Chamundi Hill.
Navaratri culminates in grand Vijayadasami celebrations, also known as Jambu Savari. The grandeur and magnificence of this event has popularised the Mysore Dasara the world over. On this day, the king worships the royal sword, places it on a palanquin and offers an ash gourd smeared with vermilion as sacrifice to it. He heads the grand procession, seated in the historically famous 75-kg golden howdah bedecked with rare gems and pearls, which is carried by the royal elephant.
Royal elephant Balarama carring the Golden Howdah
But the most significant change in the Dasara celebrations now is that the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari has replaced the king in the procession. Also absent is the royal procession comprising soldiers. The entire procession comprises of the royal elephants (which come from
Mysore Palace by Day
Temple inside the Palace
Rose Nandi --At this year's Flower Show – made with 40,000 roses
At the Flower Show
Prominent Circle illumination
Colours shop inside the main market
Flower Vendor in the market
I miss Mysore especially at this time, but these pictures bring back good memories of past Dasara celebrations.
Wishing all of you a very Happy and Joyous Dasara!!