Mysuru: About one million people from across the country gathered in Karnataka’s cultural capital Mysuru for the victory parade on Saturday to mark the culmination of the globally renowned 10-day Dasara festival.
With the Karnataka government hosting the fest as “Naada Habba” (state festival), Chief Minister Siddaramaiah flagged off the 407th procession, to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, from the gates of the royal Amba Vilas Palace.
Fifteen caparisoned elephants, horse-drawn carriages, around 2,000 artists, cultural troupes and 40 tableaux marched five km to the Bannimantap Grounds through the city, which is located about 150 km from Bengaluru.
The colourful tableaux demonstrated various religious and cultural facets of the state from across its 30 districts, life of rural communities, artisans etc along with the state government’s initiatives like the “Indira Canteens”.
The highlight of the procession commonly called in the region as “Jumbo savari” (elephant parade) had the elephant Arjuna leading the parade, a sight that caught the attention of the tourists and locals alike.
In line with the traditions, cultural spirit and religious fervour of the region’s erstwhile princely rulers since the 17th century, Hindu deity Chamundeshwari led the procession on a 750 kg golden throne astride the decorated Arjuna.
With the state receiving bountiful rains this year after a severe drought last year, thousands of people from the villages, including farmers and their families, thronged the city to celebrate the religious event.
“Thanks to the rains this year, a large number of people have participated in the Dasara celebrations. People have been able to take part in the celebrations with contentment,” Siddaramaiah told reporters at the venue.
“Rains have brought true cheer on people’s faces.”
Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar, the titular head of the Mysuru royal family, was also seen taking part in the festivities.
The Wodeyar dynasty had ruled the then Kingdom of Mysore for over four centuries from 1399.
Raja Wodeyar, one of the rulers from the dynasty, is credited with holding the Dasara celebrations for the first time in 1610. Ever since, the royal family has played a significant part in the festivities that have gained popularity across the world.
The three-hour long procession will culminate in the night with a torchlight parade and fireworks in the Bannimantap Grounds, where Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, state officials and other invitees will be present along with lakhs of people.
Around 6,000 police personnel and 1,600 home guards have been deployed along the five km parade route to regulate the crowds and prevent vehicular traffic, a police official said.