Dussehra or Dasara (as it is known in Mysore) is one of the most auspicious occasions in India. The grand festivities begin 10-days earlier with Navratri during which people fast and seek blessings from Goddess Durga. Dussehra 2017 falls on 30th September 2017. It is also on this day that Lord Ram defeated Ravana, and killed him to rescue his wife Sita. In most parts of North India, huge idols of Ravana are made and set to fire on the Dussehra day, signifying the victory of good over evil.
- The Dasara Festival in Mysore will complete 407 years this time
- Dussehra festivities first began in the 14th-century
- The entire Mysore palace is decorated with about 100,000 light bulbs
While the sentiments and the enthusiasm remains the same, the festival of Dussehra is celebrated with different traditions and rituals throughout the country. These celebrations are particularly unique in Mysuru, a city in India's southwestern state of Karnataka. Here Dusshera is also known as Vijayadashami.
According to folklore, Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated in Mysuru to commemorate the day when the Hindu Goddess Chamundeshwari (Durga) killed the demon Mahisasura. It is believed that the city Mysore got its name after the demon Mahishasura was slayed by Goddess Chamundeshwari. Therefore, the festival of Dussehra is celebrated with much grandeur and spectacle in Mysore and is accompanied with elaborate preparations. The Dasara Festival organised to celebrate Dussehra 2017 will complete 407 years this time.
Dussehra 2017: Festivities at the Mysore Palace
It is believed that Mysore Dasara or Dussehra festivities were first celebrated during the reign of the Vijayanagara kings back in the 14th-century. Goddess Durga was revered as the warrior goddess and therefore, martial event was organised every year with athletic competitions, fireworks and military parades. Later, during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in the year 1805, the tradition of holding a special Durbar at the Mysore palace was started, which was attended by members of the royal family, special invitees, officials and the masses. In the present day, the “Pattada Katti” (royal sword) is worshiped on the day of Dusshera and on the ninth day of the festival, which is also known as Mahanavami, it is placed on the golden throne.
The martial event is not organised anymore but the Dussehra festivities in Mysuru today are no less grand than what they were before. The highlight of the festivities is the 10-day Mysore Dasara festival in the Mysore Palace. The entire palace is decorated with about 100,000 light bulbs that illuminate and brighten the sky from 7 P.M to 10 P.M on each day of the festival. Many cultural and religious programs, song and dance performances are also organised in front of the palace.
The Dasara Procession
Another important aspect of Dusshera 2017 will be the procession that is held every year to commemorate the festival in Mysuru. The traditional Dasara procession is also known as the Jumbo Savari. During the procession, an idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a mantapa made with pure gold and seated on top of a decorated elephant that tours around the city. The procession starts at the Mysore palace and is joined by musical bands and dance troupes. It ends at a place called Bannimantap where the banni tree is worshiped. It is believed that back in the day, the banni tree was worshiped by the kings before they set out on a war to seek luck to help them emerge victorious. The procession and all the festivities end on the 10th night or Vijayadashami with a torchlight parade at the Bannimantap Parade Grounds.
Dussehra 2017: Other activities
The city of Mysuru is already gearing up to organize special events on all the 10 days of Dussehra 2017. The city comes alive with music and dance shows, cultural performances, wrestling tournaments and also a grand exhibition that is held in the exhibition grounds opposite to the Mysore Palace, which was started by the Maharaja of Mysore Chamaraja Wodeyar X way back in 1880.