The Mysore Dasara festival is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the country. The 10-day grand spectacle is organised every year in Karnataka's historical city of Mysuru in the month of Ashvin of the Hindu calendar. The festival starts with the first day of Navaratri and culminates on Vijayadashami or Dussehra.
The Mysuru Dasara festival has been organised every year for the past four centuries. It is believed that the first festival on Vijayadashami was organised in the 15th century by the Vijayanagara Empire rulers.
Dasara, Navaratri, and Vijayadashami-- all celebrate the victory of good over evil. Dussehra or Vijayadashami marks the end of the nine-day fasting during Navaratri. In the northern part of the country, the festival commemorates the killing of demon king Ravana by Lord Rama; in the eastern part it marks the slaying of Mahisasura - the buffalo demon - by Goddess Durga.
Mysore Dasara is Karnataka's 'nada habba' or the state festival. Tourists come from all across the world to take part in the festivities.
The ceremonies at the Mysore Dasara festival is presided by the titular king of Mysuru.
The biggest attraction at the Mysuru Dasara is the procession that starts from the Amba Vilas palace and move about for 5 kilometres through Mysuru. In the procession, 15 elephants are brought from their homes in an elephant camp. In the procession, the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is kept on a golden mantapa on top of a decorated elephant.
Dance groups, music bands, decorated animals; decorated tableaux also take part in the procession.
During all ten-days of the function, the Mysore Palace remains illuminated with thousands of lights.