Mysore: Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, scion of the Mysore Royal Family, led the grand Dussehra celebrations here on Thursday.
A large number of people, including foreign tourists, thronged the Mysore Palace to participate in the revelries.
The procession, observed in the style of the erstwhile Maharajas, winds its way through the city`s streets and ends at the local palace.
The festivities included a unique wrestling competition and a procession of elephants, decked up in ornaments and precious gems.
The fight between the two wrestlers continues until one bleeds.
"Only those who worship Goddess Chamundeshwari can sustain knocks on the head, and this tradition (of wrestling) has been going on for hundreds of years," said Anant Padmanabha, a former wrestler.
"The drops of blood that fall are offered to the Goddess Chamundeshwari, as we pray for the welfare of the entire Karnataka state," added Anant Padmanabha.
After wrestling, the King goes for ``Banni Puja``, which is the ritual of worship of the Banni tree that is planted within the premises of Royal Temple.
The Mysore Dussehra is a well-known celebration, which is also a favourite with the foreign tourists.
Every year hundreds of tourists head to the erstwhile princely state, during October-November coinciding with the nine-day Dussehra festivities.
Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the scion of Wodeyar dynasty, still leads the religious ceremonies during the festival and performs the rituals.
Dussehra is also interpreted as `Dasa-Hara`, which means the cutting of the ten heads of demon-king Ravana. On this day, people resolve to cut ten heads -- passion, pride, anger, greed, infatuation, lust, hatred, jealousy, selfishness and crookedness.