The Mysore Dasara is a ten-day festival that is celebrated during Navratri which goes on till the day of Vijayadashami. This festival is the most awaited event of the small city of Mysore and is often referred to as the Royal Festival due to its exuberant vibe. When visiting Mysore during this festival, there is a myriad of things to do, from joining in the dance, music and processions to attending the various exhibitions and Food Mela's set up on the grounds or just going on a heritage tour and witnessing Mysore's glitz and glamour up close. The beautiful decked up Mysore palace with more than 1 Lakh lightbulbs adorning it is a sight to behold. This year the Mysore Dasara will be held from 28th September to 8th October 2019.
Mysore Dasara 2019 Dates
September or October Estimated start date for 2019- 29th September
Mysore Dasara Tickets
While most of the Mysore Dasara remains free for the visitors, the most important events, "The Torchlight Parade" requires a ticket. Visitors can also acquire a VIP Gold Card which guarantees access to not only the parade but also a hound of special offers and separate seats. This VIP Gold Card costs around INR 4000 per person.
Venue of Mysore Dasara Festival
The Jumbo Safari Route- The procession begins at the Mysore Palace and proceeds down Albert Road from where it reaches the Sayyaji Rao Road. From here, the parade moves through the Bamboo Bazaar and Highway Circle before reaching the final point of the Bannimantap Grounds. Aside from this, the various exhibits are held on the grounds opposite the Mysore Palace.
History of Mysore Dasara
The history of the Mysore Dasara goes back to the year 1610 when Raja Wadiya the First began the celebration of these ten days. The ceremony is closely related to a myth of the Goddess Chamundeshwari of the Chamundi Hill who was said to have defeated the buffalo-headed monster, Mahishasura and thus restored the victory of truth over evil. This is especially depicted on the tenth day of the festival which is called the Vijayadashmi whereas the other nine-day called the "Navratri" depict the nine forms of the Goddess Shakti. Since this myth was celebrated some centuries ago, the seat of the palace has been maintained by the Wadiya's to this day, and over time they have added many traditions and introduced new forms of art, culture and entertainment that are now associated to the Mysore Dasara Celebrations.
Mysore Dasara Procession
The procession or parade held on the tenth day of Dasara marks the most prominent aspect of the entire festival. There are a total of three parades held during the Mysore Dasara. The first procession is on the ninth day of Dasara called the Mahanavami. This procession is held to worship the royal sword and is a time old tradition which sees a parade of camels, horses, elephants, dancers and people dressed in the finest of liveries. The Royal Family also presides over the procession and takes part in it.
The following two processions are what comes to everyone's mind when thinking about the Mysore Dasara. These happen consecutively on the tenth day of Mysore Dasara known as Vijayadashmi. The first procession is the traditional parade called the Jumboo Savari which begins from the ornately lit Mysore Palace to the sacred grounds of Bannimantap. During this time, there are several aspects of the previous procession along with grander additions which include large bands, dance troupes, massive decorated floats that depict many important mythical events as well as a gathering of the armed forces. However, the main attraction in this unique parade is the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari which is placed atop a golden seat on an elephant. This idol is privately worshipped by the royal family (which also take part in the procession) before the parade and is then displayed for all individuals witnessing the spectacle.
The parade makes its final stop at the Bannimantap Grounds which holds a Banni Tree that was used for hiding arms and later worshipped by the legendary Pandavas. The evening of Vijayadashmi, when the Jumboo Savari halts at the Bannimantap, the mesmerising torchlight parade commences. This parade is also called the Panjina Kavayitha and is specially organised to have a great end to an extraordinary festival.
Mysore Dasara Celebrations - Exhibition & Events
Aside from the processions at the end of Mysore Dasara, several other events take place throughout the ten days. These events manage to captivate its visitors with its wide range and uniqueness. The activities vary from sporting events, cycling and heritage tours, wrestling, yoga, film festivals, pet shows treasure hunts to events celebrating the art and culture of Mysore. Food is also a huge aspect of this festival, and you will find a variety of different food stalls showcasing their delicacies to all visitors.
Another favorite aspect of the Mysore Dasara is the exhibition that takes place on the grounds opposite the Mysore Palace and is held there throughout the festival till December. This exhibition carries with it every ware underneath the sun and fulfils every person's fantacy. Wares range from clothing items, kitchenware and cosmetics to gaming and rides and entertainment like the Ferris wheel. Many individuals visit the exhibition when they're out to witness the Palace in all its glory. During Mysore Dasara, the usually shining Mysore Palace stands out even more stunning as it is illuminated with almost 100,000 light bulbs.
Another fascinating aspect of this royal festival is the Golden Throne that is kept in the Durbar Hall for the entire duration of Dasara. These ten days of celebration is the only time the throne can be witnessed by all individuals who wish to see it.
The Mysore Dasara has always been a famous festival that is very dear to the hearts of the locals as well as the royal family of Mysore alike. The festival aptly represents all that Mysore stands for and showcases the best of the city's culture while also demonstrating its triumphant history. Hence, while the festival might be a cause for celebration for many, it holds a deeper meaning for an even more significant part of the population.