Every year during the Dasara Durbar, the city of Mysore put itself on show, with a formal gathering and homage at the Amba Vilas Palace, followed by a magnificent procession, complete with flags, arches, bands, troops, standards, palanquins and caparisoned elephants.
Especially for some of us who grew up in the erstwhile Royal Mysore, this time of the year is very nostalgic. It would have been nice if Mysore Dasara was what it used to be.
The Dasara celebrations, on the lavish scales now maintained, date from the beginning of the 17th century, when Raja Wodeyar came to the throne of Mysore after Sri Rangaraja, as descendent of the Vijayanagar Princes. With his ascent also dates the use of the famous throne by the Maharaja, during the festival. Raja Wodeyar who became the king of Mysore at the beginning of the 17th century, celebrated the Dasara festival on a royal scale, and after him, year after year the Dasarz has gained in splendor, entertainment and attractiveness.
Post-Independence, the Government of Karnataka too has adopted Dasara as a naada habba or a State festival. But apart from the Palace festivities, true to the edict of the Bhavishya Purana, Dasara has always been a people’s festival, one that resonates with their aspirations and beliefs.
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