The Dasara festival is celebrated on a very grand scale in Mysore, Karnataka. The festival is celebrated for nine nights (Navratri) and ten days, culminating on Vijayadashmi, the most auspicious day of the festival. Vijayadashmi symbolizes victory of good over evil. It was on this day that Goddess Chamundeshwari killed the evil Rakshas, Mahishasura. The Dasara festival completed 400 years of its celebration in 2010.
The entire city of Mysore wears a festive look on all days during the festival. Streets are decorated and the entire city is lit up. A hundred thousand bulbs illuminate the Mysore Palace making it all the more enchanting. Tourists from other parts of the country as well as abroad throng upon visit Mysore to witness the spectacular revelry. Cultural and religious programmes showcase the culture of the state. The Mysore Palace, the auditoriums and the exhibition grounds thrive with activity. Music concerts, dance performances, flower shows, wrestling competitions and food ‘Melas” are organized. The Dasara exhibition is the centerpiece of attraction with a wide range of display of handicrafts, ornaments, etc.
The main thoroughfare of Mysore City is witness to the grand Dasara procession on Vijayadashmi. A 750 kg. golden ‘Mandap’ houses the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari atop a beautifully decorated elephant. Colourful tableaus (akin to Republic Day Parade), decorated elephants, horses and camels and dance troupes make up the procession. The festival concludes with a stunning torch-light parade.
Mysore boasts of a rich tradition of exhibiting dolls at homes in Mysore during Dasara. Colourful dolls depicting Gods and Goddesses are displayed aesthetically in nine steps, each step depicting one day of the festival. The dolls are made of either wood or clay, bringing back memories of a city which had potters and clay artisans.