Pageantry, festive spirit marks Mysore DussehraOctober 9th, 2008 - 8:31 pm ICT by IANS
Mysore, Oct 9 (IANS) The grand finale of the 10-day Dussehra fest began on a spectacular note Thursday, with pageantry and festive spirit marking Vijayadashami in this cultural capital of Karnataka, some 140 km from India’s IT hub.Witnessed by thousands of people, from India and abroad, the colourful Dussehra procession led by the elephant Balarama took off from the illuminated Mysore palace of Wadiyars to Bannimantap grounds on the other side of the city.
The mile-long victory procession, christened ‘jamboo savari’ consists of a dozen elephants, scores of camels, horses and bullock carts.
47 tableaux depicting the cultural and historical facets of Karnataka are the special attraction of the fest.
Earlier, scion of the erstwhile Mysore maharajas - Srikantadatta Wadiyar - heralded the victory march by invoking the family deity.
Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa also joined the celebrations.
Besides family members and relatives of Wadiyars, district in-charge minister Shobha Karandlaje, several cabinet ministers, MPs, legislators, top officials and special invitees graced the occasion.
The crowds were enthralled with music, folk dances and songs by cultural troupes and artistes from different parts of the state.
About 4,500 police personnel were deployed in and around the city to ensure peaceful celebration of the fest.
In his brief address on the occasion, Yeddyurappa said Dussehra was a joyous fest for the 60-million people of Karnataka, heralding peace, happiness and prosperity.
Expressing gratitude to goddess Chamundeshwari for blessing the state with bountiful rains and good harvest, the chief minister thanked the people for maintaining peace and order during the 10-day celebrations.
Metal detectors and closed-circuit television (CCTV) sets were installed at key entry and exit points to monitor the people and detect any untoward movement.
Meanwhile, the Dussehra celebration committee expressed unhappiness as the number of visitors to the colourful fest dwindled this year compared to previous years.
“We were expecting over one million people, including thousands of domestic and foreign tourists for the 10-day celebrations. Instead, about 600,000 people visited. The recent terror attacks in Bangalore and other cities appear to have dampened the enthusiasm of the people in witnessing the grand Mysore Dussehra fest,” a committee member told IANS.
The Mysore Dusshera fest dates back to 1610 AD when King Raja Wadiyar-I began celebrating the victory of goddess Chamundeshwari who slew demon Mahishasura on Vijayadashmi day.