Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Home Variety Culture and History The Mysuru Dasara: A grand celebration of traditions, heritage and glory

The Mysuru Dasara: A grand celebration of traditions, heritage and glory

The world-famous Mysuru Dasara is not just a celebration of a Hindu festival, but rather a mix of a cultural, spiritual and religious carnival making it one of the greatest national events annually.

The grandeur of the Mysuru Dasara has successfully captured the reminiscence of India’s rich cultural and civilizational heritage. The 10-day Mysuru Dasara celebration is one of those few Indian celebrations which has reached a global audience, attracting millions of tourists from around the world making it one of India’s most extravagantly celebrated festivals.

The annual Mysuru Dasara centres around the ten days from Pratipada to Dashami in the Shukla Paksha of the month of Ashwin, as per the Hindu calendar, which goes on for next nine days and before reaching a splendid end on Vijayadashmi, the 10th day of the festival.

However, behind all these grandeur, celebration, lights and the colours, the Mysuru Dasara celebrations have a long history that glorifies the triumph of truth and virtue over evil.

The History:

The city of Mysuru, which served as the capital of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore between 1399 and 1956 is a shortened form of Mahishasurana Uru, which translates to the town to which the Buffalo demon -Mahishasura lived.

According to Hindu mythology, the wicked buffalo demon Mahishasura declared war against the gods. However, the gods found that they could not fight the demon as he was blessed with a boon that had granted him that no man or god could ever kill him. To bring an end to Mahishasura’s terror, the gods decided to invoke Chamundeshwari, the warrior goddess who is also referred to as Durga, who charged into battle on a tiger. After nine whole days of battling the demon, the goddess finally slew him on the tenth day – Vijayadashami.

As the legend goes, Vijayadashami denotes the victory of good over evil and was the day when the Hindu Goddess Chamundeshwari killed the demon Mahishasura.

To mark this symbolic victory of good over evil, the city of Mysuru has been holding grand Dussehra celebrations for over four centuries, possibly more. The history of Dasara celebrations in Mysuru goes back to as far back as the 15th century. Italian explorer and merchant Niccoli de Conti, who had visited Vijayanagara in the early 1400s, mentions the greatness of Dussehra celebrations.

As the Vijayanagara Empire weakened before disintegrating completely and the Deccan Sultanate grew stronger, the celebrations ceased for a while.

Grand Mysuru Dasara procession, image courtesy: GQ India

The grand Mysore Dasara celebrations marked its re-entry after the rise of the Wodeyar Royal Family, the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore. The Wodeyars, who were the vassals of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1399 onwards, rose to power to be an independent kingdom in 1565.

The Wodeyars initially tried to retain the goodwill of the Vijayanagara empire and continued the traditions started by them. Raja Wodeyar, the founder of the Mysore kingdom, started the Navaratri festivities in order to celebrate his independence and declared that the days be observed with devotion and splendour. Initially, the Dasara was celebrated in their stronghold Srirangapatna, a town near Mysore city, later continued uninterrupted even after the annexation of Mysore state by Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan’s rule between 1761 and 1799.

Later, when Mysore State was restored by the British to Mummadi or the third Krishnaraja Wodeyar in 1799, the capital was shifted to Mysore city from Srirangapatna and the Navaratri festivities began to be performed with greater magnificence in the new capital. The special durbar was introduced for the Europeans and direct participation by the common masses begun.

The legacy continues:

Since 1610, the traditions have been preserved and carried by respective Wodeyar kings. The festival became a tradition of the royal household and reached its zenith during the rule of statesman Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar from 1902-1940 AD.

The royal durbar, the procession of royal elephants with the king seated in the majestic golden howdah known as ‘Ambari’ followed by his ministers, administrators, the royal staff and the military continued till it came to an end with the end of British rule and the integration of princely states to the Indian Union in 1947.

The Wodeyar Kings’ procession depicted in paintings of the Mysuru Palace. image courtesy: The Hindu

However, Jaya Chamarajendra Wodeyar, the last crowned king of the Wodeyar kingdom tried to revive the tradition in his personal capacity after a few years, but the old appeal was missing. After the annexation and reorganisation of states and upon the death of Jaya Chamarajendra Wadiyar in 1974, the tradition again suffered a setback and Mysuru almost lost its unique festival until the Government of Karnataka decided to celebrate it as a state festival or ‘Naada Habba’ with few modifications in the Dasara celebrations.

The modern Mysuru Dasara:

With the Government of Karnataka celebrating the Mysuru Dasara as the ‘Naada Habba’, the spectacle has now become a state event. The Mysuru Dasara is now part of two ceremonies, one carried out by the royal household and the other being the public celebrations carried out by the state with all the pomp and grandeur.

The Dasara palace ceremonies are largely a private affair of the royal family, witnessed by a select audience. Clad in royal attire and traditional headgear, the head or “custodian” of the erstwhile ruling family of the Kingdom of Mysore, ascend the golden throne and receives symbolic obeisance from the public.

The present scion of the Wadiyar dynasty, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar holding the special Durbar during Dasara, image via Deccan Chronicle

During Dasara, the sight of brightly illuminated Mysuru Palace and the entire city is one of the most vital features of the celebrations. Various cultural and religious programs highlighting the dance, music and culture of the state of Karnataka are performed in front of the illuminated Palace.

Every year, the Dasara celebrations begin with a pooja performed to the Goddess Chamundeshwari atop the Chamundi Hills in the presence of the Wodeyar royal couple, Ministers and other high-ranking officials in the Government of Karnataka, and other invitees.

One of the biggest attractions is the wrestling tournament which is held during the Dasara, involving wrestlers from across the country, attracts a sizable audience. The other attractions of the festival include Dasara exhibition which starts during the Dasara and continues for around two months.

The conclusion of the Dasara celebrations is marked by a colourful Dasara procession, popularly known as Jambo Savari. The pomp and glory of this event have popularized the Mysore Dasara world over. The main attraction of the Dasara procession is the golden idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari which is carried in a golden howdah or ‘Ambari’ weighing over 750 kg on top of an elephant. Earlier, before the country’s independence, the practice was that the king himself would lead the procession seated upon Golden howdah on the royal elephant back.

Procession during Mysuru Dasara, image via Deccan Chronicle

The Dasara procession also includes colourful tableaux created by different states and organisations. Musical bands, folk dancers, decorated elephants, horses and camels also form a part of the procession which starts from the Mysore Palace and ends at Bannimantap where the Banni tree is worshipped.

The culminating program of the Mysuru Dasara festivities is the Panjina Kavayatthu or torch-light parade held on a grand note at the Bannimantap grounds on the outskirts of the city.

The world-famous Mysuru Dasara is not just a celebration of a Hindu festival, but rather a mix of a cultural, spiritual and religious carnival making it one of the greatest national events annually. The sheer scale and magnificence of the festival is unparalleled and hardly matched by any other cultural ceremony of the country.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Related Articles

Trending now

“Dawood Ibrahim administrating legal, financial and mental attack on Republic TV, Arnab Goswami may face physical attack”: Former Bureaucrat RV Subramani

RV Subramani speaks on how Arnab Goswami touched the wrong nerve of Dawood Ibrahim and many politicians by reportage on Bollywood drug nexus

TeleMedicine: Technology bridging the doctor-patient gap to strengthen public healthcare system

Telecardiology helps connect cardiologists and patients in remote areas so that they could get timely report leading to proper diagnosis.

Bihar: The shocking story of Jungle Raj hidden in voter turnouts

The shocking story of Jungle Raj in Bihar no one told you.

Munger Police deactivates its Twitter account amidst claims of SP Lipi Singh being suspended over Durga Puja violence

SP Munger had earlier defended police action on devotees during the Durga Visarjan procession, claiming they provoked the force by pelting stones

NIA raids offices of Greater Kashmir and ‘activist’ associated with NGO that called Amarnath Yatra ‘militarised pilgrimage’

The NIA also carried out raids at the offices of another dubious NGO called 'Athroat', a houseboat named 'HB Hilton' in the Dal Lake and on the residence of 'activist' Khurram Parvez.

BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai’s widow writes to Priyanka Gandhi urging her to stop shielding Mukhtar Ansari, accused of killing her husband

Mukhtar Ansari is currently lodged in a jail in Punjab which is governed by Congress party, which has refused to transfer him to UP

Recently Popular

Faridabad: A month after college student Nikita files molestation complaint against Taufeeq, he shoots her dead

As per reports, the accused initially wanted to abduct the victim but killed her when she resisted him.

Nikita Tomar murder: Taufeeq was pressurising her to embrace Islam family alleges

On Monday, 21-year-old Nikita Tomar was shot to death in broad daylight outside the Aggarwal college in Ballabgarh, Faridabad

Charlie Hebdo mocks Turkish President Recep Erdogan in its latest cartoons, shows him lifting a skirt of woman wearing ‘hijab’

The front-page caricature of Wednesday's edition of Charlie Hebdo that was released online on Tuesday night depicts Erdogan in a white T-shirt and underpants, drinking a can of beer and lifting up the skirt of a woman wearing a hijab to reveal her naked bottom.

Nikita Tomar murder: Main accused Tauseef belongs to a family of influential Congress politicians from Nuh in Haryana

The prime accused Tauseef's grandfather, uncles and cousin brothers are all infuential Congress politicians from Haryana's Nuh

YouTuber Lakshay Chaudhary levels serious allegations of fraud against Gaurav Wasan of Swad Official whose video on ‘Baba ka Dhaba’ had gone viral

Gaurav Wasan of Swad Official had uploaded a video about the financial difficulties faced by the elderly couple of 'Baba ka Dhaba'.

Chinese state-run channel shows the portrait of Prophet Muhammad, netizens ask if Muslim nations will boycott China

Arslan Hidayat, an Uyghur Rights Activist, took to Twitter shared a video of a Chinese TV series on Twitter in which it was depicted that an Arab ambassador visiting China during the rule of Tang dynasty gifts a portrait of the Prophet Muhammad to the Chinese emperor.
- Advertisement -

Delhi government begins crackdown on Diwali, 11 anti-firecracker squads to be formed to prevent use of crackers other than ‘Green Crackers’

Delhi govt announced that an anti-firecracker campaign will be launched on November 3 ahead of the Diwali festival

“Dawood Ibrahim administrating legal, financial and mental attack on Republic TV, Arnab Goswami may face physical attack”: Former Bureaucrat RV Subramani

RV Subramani speaks on how Arnab Goswami touched the wrong nerve of Dawood Ibrahim and many politicians by reportage on Bollywood drug nexus

Watch: Pro-India accounts disrupt Pakistan’s anti-India online meeting on Zoom, play pro-Hindu and Indian nationalistic songs

Indic social media users caused embarrassment to Pakistani authorities and diplomats after they raided their online event on zoom

Lord Ram’s effigy burnt in Amritsar on Dussehra, case registered after BJYM and VHP members held protests

In a video of the incident, some people were seen burning an effigy of Lord Ram on the occasion of Dussehra

TeleMedicine: Technology bridging the doctor-patient gap to strengthen public healthcare system

Telecardiology helps connect cardiologists and patients in remote areas so that they could get timely report leading to proper diagnosis.

Adivasis and family of Gond tribal leader Komaram Bheem objects to his Muslim look in the upcoming ‘RRR’ movie

Komaram Bheem’s grandson Sone Rao said that the movie RRR depicting Bheem as Muslim is nothing but a 'distortion'

Bihar: The shocking story of Jungle Raj hidden in voter turnouts

The shocking story of Jungle Raj in Bihar no one told you.

CIC issues show-cause notice and summons after NIC, IT Ministry said in RTI reply that they do not have information on creation of Aarogya...

CIC asked how NIC does not have information about creation of Aarogya Setu App when it says it is designed, developed and hosted by it

UP CM Yogi Adityanath vows to save cows at any cost, warns of stern action against those indulged in cow slaughter

Yogi Adityanath said that the state government was committed to protect cows at any cost and wont allow cow slaughter

Swad Official’s Gaurav Wasan refutes allegations of fraud levelled by YouTuber Lakshay Chaudhary, says he has given all the donations to ‘Baba Ka Dhaba’

Gaurav Wasan said that he has collected Rs 3.35 lakhs through the campaign, and he gave it to Baba ka Dhaba by cheque

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
470,253FollowersFollow
19,500SubscribersSubscribe