Every state bursts into its most glorious colours during festivals. Be it Chaturthi in Maharashtra or Dilli ki Diwali, Baisakhi in the fields of Punjab, or Dasara in Karnataka, the states put on their finest to pay homage to its culture and tradition. It is a sight to see.
I have lived in Bangalore for several years and visited the famed city of Mysore on several occasions. I have been to the hills and the museum, and the zoo, and the palace, and almost every dosa place the city has to offer. However, somehow I had never witnessed Mysuru in its vibrant glory, during the 10 day processions of Dasara. Plans were made, bags were packed, roads were travelled, and there I was (for a day).
The grandeur of Dasara in Mysuru remains unmatched to to any other festival celebration in the state, maybe even the country. The day marks the defeat of the demon King Mahishasura at the hands of Goddess Chamundeshwari, and resounds in the celebrated victory of good over evil.
Here’s an interesting fact – did you know that the city of Mysuru is named after this the same demon king? Yes, you heard that right. It was first called Mahishasura Ooru, literally translating to “the land of Mahishasura”. Legend has it that Mahishasura could assume the form of both human and a cow. He was eventually slayed by the Goddess along with an army of warriors from the city. The processions of the Dasara Parade include a showcase of weapons of the army, including the royal sword.
As per the age-old tradition, the event of Dasara begins with the king of Mysore placing the sword on the royal throne. The procession includes a display of elephants, horses, and even camels. My favourite bit were the elephants who were dressed up in fabulous silk throws and designs (I love elephants by the way).
After the procession, I headed straight to the exhibition. Held in the exhibition grounds near the palace, it was a showcase of vibrant stalls with local artifacts, fun installations and games. I spent hours combing through the sea of cultural keepsakes and indulging in the snacks.
Today, apps like FlippAR Go make the event even more exciting through Augmented Reality. With FlippAR Go, you can gain information about the history of the city, witness the day and night views of the palace, watch the police band’s performance and view the Dasara elephants in their traditional silk attire.
The day was concluded with a sight I can probably never get enough of – the palace lit up in all its glory. I returned to the room exhausted but it was definitely a day well spent . In retrospect, I could have taken a few steps to make the trip a little easier, such as book a hotel room closer to the grounds or to pack enough liquids when heading out.
But I hadn’t even fathomed the crowd. It is needless to mention that the city was flooded with people and the events got quite hectic , so be prepared. I had always enjoyed the calm vibes of the city and adored its old bones, but to witness it during Dasara was to see it in a light I couldn’t imagine. The city had roared to life. Bustling streets, lively music, colours in the air, people dancing. What a grand celebration, indeed.