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Mysore decks up for grand Dasara finale
Indo-Asian News Service
Mysore (Karnataka), Oct 13 (IANS) Thousands of people were making their way towards this city of palaces for the royal Dasara procession Thursday that marks the grand finale of the 10-day festival in a riot of colour and pageantry.
All roads led to Mysore on this Vijaya Dashmi day with about 2.5 million people from across the state and country gathering to witness the colourful parade by a dozen caparisoned elephants, followed by scores of royal horses, camels, folk dancers and 22 tableaux depicting the cultural variety and heritage of Karnataka.
The festival of triumph of good over evil, which began with pomp and pageantry atop the Chamundeswari hills on Oct 4, will culminate in the victory procession from the Mysore royal palace to the Banni Mantap grounds, traversing through the main thoroughfares, decked up with flowers, bunting and thousands of lights.
With all the tickets sold out and hundreds of passes cornered by influential people, including ministers, legislators and officials, several tourists, especially foreigners, were seen scrambling for extra tickets or cards for an entry into the VIP enclosure.
Unlike in the past when the Mysore maharajas of the Wodeyar dynasty used to herald the annual fest, the grand old tusker Balarama will lead the colourful procession carrying the 750 kg idol of goddess Chamundeswari seated in the golden howdah.
In the presence of Mysore scion Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wodeyar and his consort Pramoda Devi, state Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh will flag off the mega event by performing prayers at the Kote Anjaneyaswamy temple in the royal palace.
With a winter nip in the air and parched fields turning a verdant green, the city of palaces, near the Karnataka capital Bangalore, has been spruced up for the mega event to reflect the grandeur of the festival.
According to Wodeyar, the Nada Habba (Dasara festival) is not a mere 10-day affair but a way of life, reflecting the cultural ethos of the 50 million Kannadigas and marking the triumph of good over evil in a festive atmosphere.
To familiarise themselves with the five km procession route, the tuskers, horses and camels were taken Wednesday for a three-hour rehearsal, accompanied by police cavalry, music bands and cultural troupes, including folk artistes.
About 200 artistes will also participate in the parade, called jamboo savari, to perform traditional dances and render folk songs.
In the evening, a torchlight parade at the grounds will be the highlight of the spectacle with a 21-gun salute by the state reserve police.
The organisers have installed eight giant screens across the city to beam the grand finale live for thousands of people, including hundreds of tourists who may not find place along the route to witness the action directly.
A 10x40 LCD screen has also been put up at the grounds for relaying the torchlight parade and the traditional prayers at the royal palace.
"There are demands for more screens from the public. We may put up some more to maintain order and regulate the crowds," minister Tanveer Sait said.