Mysore Dasara celebrations are Karnataka’s and indeed south India’s best known Dussehra festivities that attract thousands of devotees and tourists alike. The Mysore Dasara celebrations conclude the nine-day Navratri festivities with a grand procession that begins from the illuminated Mysore palace. Indeed, over the decades, Mysore has become synonymous with the extravagant Dasara celebrations and the festival is celebrated with a great pomp every year. The 10-day festival ends with its last day being Vijayadashami. For the duration of Navratri and Dasara, Mysore Palace is illuminated and a procession is carried out through the streets of the city even as Mysore comes to a standstill for that one day.
This year Mysore Dasara is going to be celebrated from 7th October 2021 to 15th October 2021. All through Dasara, the brightly illuminated Mysore Palace and the entire city is a sight to behold. Various cultural and religious programs highlighting the dance, music and culture of the State of Karnataka are performed in front of the illuminated Palace. Dasara celebrations commence with a pooja performed to Goddess Chamundeshwari Temple atop the Chamundi Hills with the presence of the Wodeyar royal couple, and state officials.
Mysore, which used to be a capital for more than 600 years, is closely associated with Navratri and Dasara legends and the Chamundeshwari Temple is an important city landmark for a good reason. The city also owes its name to a tale from the Hindu mythology, one that involves Chamundeshwari, an incarnation of Durga who battled the demon Mahishasura for nine nights. On the 10th day, Chamundeshwari killed Mahishasura and the town came to be called Mahishasurana Uru (meaning, the town that Mahishasur belonged to). Soon, that name changed to Mahisur or Mysuru, which was then anglicized as Mysore. The Mysore Dasara celebrations span the duration of the epic battle and honor the nine forms of the goddess as well as the victory of good over evil. 2016 marks the 406th anniversary of the Mysore Dasara celebrations, which have more or less remained the same for all these years.
The Mysore palace is one of the most glorious and lauded pieces of architecture in India. During the Dasara, Mysore palace is illuminated for two hours (07:00 pm to 09:00 pm) on first eight days (07th Oct to 14th Oct 2021) and for three hours (07:00 pm to 10:00 pm) on Vijayadashami Day (15th October 2019) with 97,000 incandescent lamps that amplify its majesty and beauty.
Thousands of visitors throng the palace on these days. Throughout the 10 days Dasara festival, Karnataka State Government arranges music, dance, and folk dance performances, flower and doll shows, wrestling and Food and Film festival. The Yuva (Youth) Dasara, which consists of musical concerts performed by youth icons, is also conducted during Dasara.
The Dasara exhibition starts during the Mysore Dasara and continues for around two months. It’s held in the Doddakere Maidan opposite to the Mysore Palace. Dasara Exhibition is a mammoth fair that sells all kinds of stuff like clothes, plastic ware, gifts, food etc. It has many rides and games too. Local merchants and those from all over India come here to exhibit and sell their products. It is the perfect hangout spot for families or groups of friends to spend a day filled with excitement and fun. It is also a great opportunity to explore and understand better the culture and glory of Mysore. This year the exhibition is going to be a plastic-free zone and battery-operated vehicles will be available for the elderly and the physically challenged.
The Procession starts from the palace after the royal couple worship the idol. The procession consists of dancers, music bands, decorated camels and horses etc. The “parade” ends in Bannimantap, where the banni tree is worshiped. The Dasara festivities culminate on the night of Vijayadashmi with the torch light parade held in the Bannimantap grounds.
On tenth day of Dasara, a grand Procession (Jamboo Savari) starts from the palace after the royal couple worship the idol. The main attraction of the Dasara procession will be the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari which is carried in a Golden howdah weighing over 750 kgs on top of an elephant. The procession consists of dancers, musical bands belonging to State Police, Folk dancers, decorated elephants, horses and camels. colorful tableaux created by different State organisations to form an integral part of the procession.
The culminating program of the Dasara festivities is the Panjina Kavayatthu (torch-light parade) held on a grand note at the Bannimantap grounds in the outskirts of the city. Fire works put on show; daredevil stunts on top of motorcycles by a team of the Indian army and a Laser show are part of the program.
The Mysore Dasara is certainly worth the time, money and effort invested in it. So, plan your trips to Mysore, India and witness the splendor and awe of Mysore Dasara and India. Mysore Dasara 2021 will be inaugurated by before 09:00 am on 07th October 2021 at Chamundeshwari Temple atop the Chamundi Hill.