Mysore Dasara Festival 2011 - Mysore Dussehra

    Mysore Dasara or Mysore Dussehra is one of the most delightful Hindu festivals of India celebrated on the tenth day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Ashwina or Ashwayuja (September - October). Regarded as the Nadahabba or Nada Habba (the State festival) of Karnataka, Mysore Dasara festival also marks the grand culmination of the 10 days annual Navratri festival. The traditional Mysore Dasara procession, Dasara exhibition opposite in the exhibition grounds opposite to Mysore Palace, and the magnificently lit up Mysore Palace on all the 10 days of Dasara makes Mysore Dasara festival a major tourist attraction for local as well as International tourists. This year, Mysore Dasara Festival 2011 is celebrated from 28th September to 6th October 2011.

    Picture of Mysore Palace beautifully illuminated for the Dasara festival - The Palace will be lit up for all the ten days of the festival.

    Picture of Mysore Palace during Mysore Dasara Festival in India

    History of Mysore Dussehra Festival

    The long tradition of celebrating the Dasara festival can be traced back to the Vijayanagar dynasty in 15th Century. After the fall of Vijayanagar Kingdom, The Wodeyar's of Mysore continued the Dasara Festival in the year 1610 at Srirangapatna. Colorful and religious celebrations were held under the leadership of Raja Wodeyar.

    Dasara festival is also known by other names such as Durgotsav, Dashahara, and Vijayadashami, Vijaya Dashami, Vijaydasami Dashain.Dasara literally means the tenth day and it marks the end of the nine days of Navratri. Legend has it that Vijayadashami denotes the day when Goddess Chamundeshwari killed the demon Mahishasura. It was from the name of Mahishasura, the name Mysore has been derived (The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishuru, which means the abode of Mahisha).

    Mysore Dasara 2011 Festival Celebrations

    The celebrations start with the performance of special puja by the Wodeyar royal couple to Goddess Chamundeshwari in the Chamundi Temple which is located on the top of Chamundi Hill at Mysore. During 1805, the Wodeyars started the tradition of holding a special durbar in the Mysore Palace for members of the royal family, Europeans, palace officials, royal priests and important citizens. This tradition is continued still with the present scion of the Wodeyar family, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar holding a private durbar during Dasara. As a custom, the king takes his ceremonial bath and worships the family deity in the palace. Then, he enters the durbar, accompanied by sacred chants and music. He worships the Navagrahas and the sacred 'kalasa' and then climbs the throne. The king worships Goddess Saraswathi on the seventh day and Mahisasuramardini (Mahishasura Mardini) on the eighth day. On the ninth day, the royal sword is worshipped and is taken on a procession consisting of elephants, camels and horses. 

    Information about Navaratri Festival Celebrations in India Here

    Jumboo Savari procession on Vijayadashami Day

    On Vijayadashami day, Jumbo Savari, the traditional Dasara procession is held on the streets of Mysore city in Karnataka. Previously, the king himself would lead the procession on the royal elephant, by sitting upon the decorated golden howdah, weighing over 750 kg. Now, the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed in the golden howdah and taken in a procession. This is the main attraction of the Mysore Dussehra festival. The idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden mantapa on the top of a decorated elephant. The royal couple and other invitees worship the idol before it is taken around in the procession. 

    The procession is accompanied by colorful tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses and camels. It starts from the Mysore Palace and culminates at a place called Bannimantap where the banni tree is worshipped. According to a legend, banni tree was used by the Pandavas to hide their arms during their one-year period of Agnatavasa. It is said that the kings traditionally worshipped this tree before undertaking any war, to help them in the war. The festivities would culminate on the night of Vijayadashami, with an event held in the grounds at Bannimantap called as Panjina Kavayatthu (torch-light parade).

    Dasara Exhibition opposite Mysore Palace Grounds

    This is another highlight during Dasara. Dasara exhibition is held in the exhibition grounds opposite to the Mysore Palace. It starts during Dasara and continues till December. Various stalls of items such as clothes, plastic items, kitchenware and cosmetics are set up. Play area is also arranged for entertaining people. Governmental agencies establish stalls to denote the achievements and projects they have undertaken.
    Apart from this, on all the 10 days of Dasara festival, various music and dance concerts are held in auditoriums around Mysore city. Tourists can see musicians and dance groups from all over India performing on this occasion. Kusti Spardhe (wrestling-bout), which attracts wrestlers from all around India, is also another important attraction among tourists.

    How to attend Mysore Dasara at Mysore Palace

    Reaching Mysore by Road - Mysore Palace is located on the heart of Mysore City, 140 km south-west of Bangalore, in Karnataka state of India. National Highway 212 passes through Mysore. Mysore is well connected by road with nearby cities including Somnathpur (35 km), Nagarhole (96 km), Bandipur (80 km), and Srirangapatna (15 km).

    Nearest Railway Station

    Mysore Junction Railway Station is the nearest railway station to reach Mysore Palace. Tippu Express, Mysore Express, Chamundi Express, Shatabdi Express, and Bangalore Express are some of the major trains passing through Mysore Junction Railway Station.

    Nearest Airport

    Bangalore airport to nearest airport to reach Mysore.

    Major Tourist Attraction in Mysore

    Mysore, referred as the Palace City of India, is one of the main tourist places in Karnataka. Here is a list of Mysore tourist places list to visit when you are in Mysore.

    Mysore Palace – the erstwhile official residence of the royal family of Mysore is located in the heart of the city.

    Chamundi Hills – Situated 13 km from Mysore, Chamundi Hills offers panoramic views of Mysore city. Goddess Chamundeshwari Temple is located here. The huge granite Nandi on the hill in front of a small Shiva temple is a major attraction.

    Brindavan Gardens – Also spelled Vrindavan Gardens, Mysore Brindavan Gardens is a beautiful botanical park, full of exciting fountains situated adjoining the Krishnarajasagara Dam.

    Jaganmohan Palace - Jaganmohan Palace was an alternate palace for the royal family of Mysore. Jaganmohan Palace also houses the Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery which showcases several mural paintings in the Mysore style of painting.

    Lalitha Mahal – This is the second largest palace in Mysore and is located near the Chamundi Hills.

    Mysore Zoo, Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, Folk Lore Museum, Regional Museum of Natural History, and the Mysore Rail Museum are other major places of tourist interest in Mysore. Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Srirangapatna (home to Sri Ranganthaswamy Temple), Shivanasamudra Waterfalls, Bylakuppe, and Talakad are other tourist places to visit which are just a short drive from Mysore.

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