Mysore: The famed Mysore Dasara that showcases the region`s rich culture, tradition, pomp and pageantry began here Wednesday and will go on for the next nine days.
Hundreds of people from this city of palaces, about 130 km from Bangalore, from different parts of the country and several foreigners gathered atop the Chamundi Hills to usher in the nine-day festival (also known as Dussehra) to mark the victory of good over evil.
The festivities began with the worshipping of Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari atop the hill by Pejawar seer Sri Vishwesha Tirtha in the presence of Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda.
Legend has it that Chamundeshwari, a reincarnation of Durga, consort of Lord Shiva, eliminated demon Mahishasura after 10 days of fierce battle. The 10th day is celebrated as Vijayadashami (day of Victory).
On Vijayadashami (Oct 6), the Mysore Dasara will conclude with `Jumboo Savari`, a procession of 12 caparisoned elephants with the lead tusker Balarama carrying the idol of Chamundeshwari placed in the 750-kg golden `howdah` (seat).
Balarama, weighing around 5,000 kg, will be carrying the `howdah` for the 13th time.
This is the 401st Dasara festivities in Mysore. The festivities recreate the aura of the glorious Vijayanagara Empire and the Wodeyar dynasty that ruled Mysore for over 300 years.
Over the next 10 days, Mysore will be a beehive of cultural and sports activities -- music concerts, film shows, dance performances, wrestling and several other events.
The grand palace of the Wodeyars in the city centre will be illuminated in the evenings, drawing thousands of people to witness the spectacle.
The Dasara festivities are being organised by the state government ever since the abolition of the privy purses and privileges of the former kings in the early 1970s.
However, the Wodeyar family continues the tradition of holding `Durbars` at the palace on the occasion of Dasara.
The Wodeyar scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar ascended the golden throne after performing `pooja` and held a `durbar` attended by his `courtiers` and family members only.