Festivals of Karnataka: Mysore Dasara

Royal Festival Celebrating victory of Truth over Evil. Dasara festival is held to commemorate the victory of truth over evil. Legend has it that the Goddess slew the evil Narakasura on that fateful day. Ever since, Dasara is a 10-day royal festival of the Hindus in the region.

In ancient times kings and rulers celebrated Navarathri-nine days festivities, culminating on Vijayadashami or tenth day. This day was mainly to mark the successful conclusion of the preceding nine days. Vijayadahsami is also a day of victory of the King and his subjects, be it in a battle or day-to-day governance.

Navarathri has the longest duration in the calendar of festivals. But the actual celebrations starts only after six days. The sixth day is in honour of goddess Saraswathi, Eigth day is dedicated to Durga and Ninth day is for Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. In some parts of India, Navami is also celebrated as Ayudha Pooja means paying honour to weapons and worshipping them. In modern days it is extended to include machines, vehicles and modern gadgets.

In Karnataka Navarathri is observed as State festival – Nadahabba, because of the celebration of the festival mainly by the Royal Family of Mysore. Even today the royal family of Mysore performs the special pooja on the occasion of Dasara.

On tenth day a grand spectacular Procession is held which starts from Mysore Palace and ends in Bannimantapa. The entire City will be gaily decorated and illuminated. The Palace and other important buildings are 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. A month long Dasara Exhibition is arranged in the Doddakere Maidana, by the Karnataka Exhibition Authority, where the public and private sector industries, leading business establishments, State Government departments put up their stalls to promote industrial and corporate business.