Posts Tagged ‘Mysore Dasara’

Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar: RIP

10 December 2013

Photo Caption

At the ‘Khaas Durbar’ during Dasara in Mysore, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar ascends the golden throne for the rituals

KPN photo

During Dasara in Mysore, Mr Wodeyar wears the royal attire and is escorted to and from the rituals with the pomp and glory of bygone days

KPN photo

During Dasara in Mysore, Mr Wodeyar wears the royal attire and is escorted to and from the rituals with the pomp and glory of bygone days

PHOTO CAPTION

During Navaratri, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar himself conducted some of the poojas in the main Amba Vilas Palace

NEWS

Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar poses in front of the Bangalore Palace in this file picture

Photo Caption

Mr Wodeyar, with his rival turned friend Brijesh Patel (second from right) after his election to the Karnataka State Cricket Association recently

NEWS

Mr Wodeyar with his wife Pramodadevi Wodeyar

churumuri records with deep regret the passing away of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the scion of the erstwhile royal kingdom of Mysore, in Bangalore on this the 10th day of December, 2013. He was 61 years old, and is survived by his wife, Pramodadevi. The Wodeyars have no natural heir.

Mr Wodeyar, was the son of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, the last maharaja of Mysore. And as the “erstwhile prince”, he remained the last tangible link with the City’s royal past, playing a key role in the conduct of the ten-day Dasara celebrations each year.

A two-time former Congress member of Parliament from Mysore (who also fought and lost on the BJP ticket), Mr Wodeyar had been elected president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) only last week. He played cricket for Mysore University during his college days.

Mr Wodeyar, who suffered from weight problems, had been unwell and greeted KSCA members upon his election, sitting down.

File photographs: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: My daddy, His Highness, the Maharaja of Mysore

Once upon a time, at the Maharaja’s study circle

Mysore’s three richest families—after Srikantadatta Wodeyar

When Bishen Bedi bowled from the Maharaja College end

Mutton chops, mudde and saaru with Srikantadatta Wodeyar

Where on earth is Bangara Doddi Naale?

Another petty ending to a ‘world-famous’ Dasara

19 October 2013

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K. JAVEEN NAYEEM writes: No you have not read me wrong and I have not made a mistake in what I have written. I did say ‘petty’ and not ‘pretty’. This year’s Dasara may have been a pretty show especially with its new eco-friendly, LED lighting which stood out as something uniquely different from what we had all seen in the past.

But I cannot help feeling that this year it also became a festival of petty squabbling.

Yes, it was nothing but that, between politicians and bureaucrats, between the real power-keepers and Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the virtual symbol of royal power and between the Kavadis, the elephant-keepers, and the administration which owns the elephants.

Just before the grand finale this year, there was an ugly and much publicised stand-off between our elected representatives on one side and the deputy commissioner and the police commissioner on the other, over the issue of free passes. I can only say that these kinds of confrontations look very undignified and amount to washing very dirty linen in full public view and media glare.

Issues like these should be settled and sorted out in some official privacy well in time without finding a mention in the press.

In a show with limited seating capacity I do not see why hordes of supporters of politicians should be given free access to have a ringside view while all those who elect them to power are denied a decent seat despite paying through their noses to have it reserved. I agree that in a ‘you scratch my back and I will scratch yours’ set-up there is nothing much one can do to get rid of such despicable things but there has to be a limit to this kind of madness.

Politicians should make it known to their fans that too many free passes will only deprive access to that many guests and therefore this kind of largess cannot be accommodated beyond a reasonable measure.

It is a very well-known fact that year after year we find many holders of VIP Passes and even Gold Cards arriving at the torch light parade venue only to find their seats already occupied by gate-crashers who simply refuse to vacate them despite intervention by the police personnel.

I have myself seen many foreign tourists simply going away in disgust at not being able to get any assistance from the officers who are posted there to prevent such occurrences. Such incidents will only give much negative publicity that only negates our efforts to popularise our Dasara across the globe.

Many mega-events similar to our Dasara are held all over the world every year but we do not see the slightest disorder in the way they are conducted. It is time we learnt to maintain some semblance of order here too. But now this remark of mine should not mean that we should immediately dispatch a delegation to study how it is done there!

A thing that we have been seeing regularly over the past few years is the sulking of the scion of the royal family. By either refusing to allow public display of the royal throne or lending the golden howdah for the procession, he behaves like an over-pampered child who craves for attention knowing very well that these two artefacts are required for the Dasara every year.

Although we have all heard of elephants having tantrums, these days we have been noticing their keepers too being afflicted by this malady. The mahouts and kavadis now regularly resort to arm-twisting tactics to get some extra attention and perks during the Dasara which is the only time when they can flaunt their importance. This is nothing but blackmail.

Knowing that their job is unique in that the government simply cannot find substitutes to manage the elephants which are indispensable symbols of the Mysore Dasara, they choose to go on a strike for the silliest of reasons like not being allowed into the palace grounds through a particular gate.

All this, despite our government bowing down to really comic levels to keep their ego flying high, like getting the State health minister himself to massage their backs or the district-in-charge Minister to serve them food while the media covers and comments on everything they do like having their haircuts and baths before the final day.

While it takes people from many other professions like carpenters, gardeners, sweepers, painters, drivers, tailors, folk artistes and policemen to make the Dasara possible, I wonder why only the mahouts, kavadis and their children should get all the attention and special treatment?

It is time someone made them understand that as paid government employees it is their duty to see that they work cheerfully in a spirit of mutual co-operation with all others.

We all take pride in calling the Dasara a ‘world famous festival’ and yet no one responsible for showcasing it thinks of providing its telecast a proper English commentary in at least one channel for the benefit of all the non-Kannadigas who watch the show on the television or the net.

Although many channels relayed the footage of the Dasara procession and the commentators repeatedly drew attention to the fact that the show was being watched live round the world, not a single one of them thought it proper to provide even subtitles in English.

Should we not ensure that the millions of non-Kannadiga viewers too understand what is happening when they are shown the different activities related to the festival and what the different tableaux and troupes in the procession represent? As hosts of Dasara festivities should we not ask ourselves if we can afford to be so indifferent to the needs of others whom we invite as our guests at the grandest and the biggest festival of our State?

(K. Javeen Nayeem is a practising physician who writes a weekly column in Star of Mysore where the full version of this piece appeared)

Photograph: A stilt-walker at the Dasara procession on the final day of Dasara 2013 in Mysore (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: What is so “world-famous” about Mysore Dasara?

Thankfully, the elephants don’t have own designs

7 October 2013

Photo Caption

As a gargantuan jury walks past, women take part in a rangoli competition as part of the Dasara festivities, in Mysore on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: What is so “world-famous” about Mysore Dasara?

Should Bollywood have a place in Mysore Dasara?

Mysore Mallige for ‘Maharani’ on day of glitz, gold

16 October 2012

On the first day of Dasara 2012, the scion of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, dressed in traditional robes, sits on the throne at the main palace (top and middle), and blesses his wife Pramoda Devi, during the private darbar, on Tuesday. –

Photographs: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: What is so world-famous about Mysore Dasara?

Should Bollywood have a place in Mysore Dasara?

Once upon a time, on this day, in another age

Mysore Dasara CDI: a prism of the past in water

5 October 2011

On the seventh night of Navarathri, the Mysore palace stands in what newspaper caption-writers would call “all its resplendent glory”, the streams of water shooting out from the fountain forming a metaphorical graph of how the 400 Dasaras before this one fared.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Athithi Devobhava, but no English in Dasara ads?

4 October 2011

SUJATA RAJPAL writes: The Dasara in Mysore is projected to attract and bring tourists from not only the length and breadth of India but also nationals from various countries.

Foreigners throng Mysore during the festival of nine nights to see the lights, the song and music concerts, the film and theatre festivals, the sports and adventure shows, the torch light parade and a myriad other attractions.

Admittedly, art and culture have no language.

Yet, a cursory look at these hoardings, hundreds of which are all over Mysore and in advertisements in the newspapers, show the disconnect between Mysore Dasara’s ambitions and the reality.

The simple point is this: most of the ads, signages and hoardings are in Kannada. Fair enough, because a vast number of tourists who come to Mysore during Dasara are Kannadigas, from near and far, and it would be tragic if Kannada didn’t get primacy in the proceedings.

Still, would it have served Mysore Dasara better by throwing in a few words of a language that most non-Kannadigas and many foreigners understand, ie English? After all, if English could be used in the traffic signs to guide the visitors, surely we could have done likewise with the cultural menu?

Would it not have helped them feel wanted and comfortable? Would it not have helped them appreciate the rich culture of Karnataka better? And would it not have helped ensure that nothing was lost in translation?

Should Bollywood have a place in Mysore Dasara?

4 October 2011

ROHITH BATNI writes: Come 2012, for some, “Mysore Dasara” could mean a train between Mysore and Dasara. Yes, that’s how far the Mysore Dasara celebrations have been steered away from the host-City.

Here’s a brief recollection by a Mysorean of how the ‘raayara kudure‘ has been progressively becoming a ‘raayara katthe‘.

Mysore Dasara 2008: Organizers launch the fest’s official website in tens of languages, barring Kannada. Guess why. They presumed Kannadigas wouldn’t refer the site. What they failed to understand was that using Kannada on that site actually represented Kannadigas and the people that’ve been historically celebrating Mysore Dasara.

Feedback was provided, interested people worked with these organizers to inform the importance of having Kannada as the binding spirit behind Mysore Dasara celebrations – both online and on the field.

Mysore Dasara 2009: The refurbished official website now featured the Kannada version; pages displaying most information in Kannada. Meanwhile, a new event called Yuva Dasara started playing mostly Hindi music.

Feedback was provided again by interested citizens of Karnataka to stop playing Hindi in a Dasara function as it is just plain incongruent to do so. It’s like playing Michael Jackson during a temple prayer offering. MJ’s music is not bad but is plain incongruent in a temple prayer scene.

Mysore Dasara 2010: The official page of Dasara now features English and Kannada only, a pretty good move keeping in mind the impossibility of maintaining the website in ten+ languages, most of them international.

But the Yuva Dasara event continues to play Hindi music, drawing widespread flak from Mysore Dasara tourists. The event just entered the hall of infamy of cultural programs held in Karnataka, yet endorsing week long irrelevant, non-Kannada (mostly Hindi) entertainment content.

All public feedback seemed to be falling on deaf ears, and departments of the populist state government seem to deriving calculated benefits out of these broad daylight murders of Mysore culture.

Mysore Dasara 2011: Opened the gates to a totally new version of Mysore Dasara – in fact a morphed version fielding Mizorami, Oriya, Bengali, Gujarati, you-name-it, dance artists and chefs alike.

Tourists landing in Mysore to witness the unique Mysore Dasara and its heritage are now challenged to treasure hunt for the original Mysore (and Karnataka) culture and tradition.

This time it is the Mysore-less Dasara Food Festival, the Mysore-less Yuva Dasara, and so on.

Anyone taking a guess what Mysore Dasara would be about in 2012? May be a good suggestion to name a train between Mysore and Dasara for that’s how far the two have been rendered.

Did we hear someone say – “in 2012 I am expecting the Polar Bears and Icy-cool Penguins to walk the Vijayadashami Jambu Savaari? Oh my! Aren’t those penguins popular among people, so what if they donn’t fit well in a Dasara procession?

Photograph: The Bollywood music composer duo of Vishal and Shekhar performing at the Yuva Dasara music festival at the Maharaja College ground, in Mysore on Sunday (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: ‘Bollywood: India’s most moronic cultural export’

‘Bollywood’s a scam. Farah Khan is a big, fat con’

Adoor: Do only Bollywood beauties possess glamour?

Mammootty: Is Hindi cinema Indian cinema?

Naada habba with an eye on the North and West

28 September 2011

The 401st Dasara is upon us. On the first day of the nine nights, U.B.Vasudev in Tampa, Florida, forwards a panoramic picture of the main Amba Vilas palace in Mysore, the cynosure of all eyes, all lit up.

This picture, as viewed from the Jayamarthanda gate, overlooking the Doddakere maidan and Chamundi Hills, has been stitched together using four different frames captured by Vasudev in March 2010.

This is how it looks during the day, without lights.

Especially for some of us who grew up in the erstwhile Royal Mysore, this time of the year is very nostalgic. It would have been nice if Mysore Dasara was what it used to be,” writes Vasudev.

The palace, which turns 100 in 2012, is also the star of Karnataka tourism’s print advertising campaign this year, hammering home the point that the Mysore palace attracts more visitors than Buckingham Palace.

A few years ago, the palace attracted more visitors than the Taj Mahal.

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Vasudev also forwards a YouTube video of the anthem of Mysore composed by the late Basappa Shastry.

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Also read: Dasara in punya bhoomi vs Dasara in karma bhoomi

On the morning of the first day of the nine nights

What is so famous about “world-famous” Mysore Dasara?

All that glitters is gold for the next ten days

My daddy, His Highness, the Maharaja of Mysore

Once upon a time, this day, another age

In the nervous 90s, stitching up some old memories

Five Hindus and a Christian invade Mysore palace

11 August 2011

All decked up in their traditional attire, the elephants for the Mysore Dasara—Balarama, Arjuna, Abhimanyu, Sarala, Mary and Ganga—arrive at the main Amba Vilas palace to a grand reception on Thursday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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2008: They come in all sizes: XXXL, XXL, XL and L

2010: Time to pull out the words ‘world-famous’ again

The make-up stays, just in case somebody asks

A tale of two roads paved with debris & hubris

11 May 2011

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: This is a tale of two roads in Mysore: the Janata marga and the Raja marga.

The Janata marga is the Krishnaraja Sagar road, in short KRS Road. Ever since the present ‘rulers’ of Mysore cast their eyes on this road, it has seen only misery.

Thousands of commuters used this road daily to reach their offices, shops and schools, and to go to the railway and bus stations. On the weekends, lakhs of tourists from all over the country used it because it connected the City with what used to be one of its most famous tourist attractions, the Brindavan gardens.

Such a vital link has been closed for more than a year.

Reason: A “multi-disciplinary project” involving the railways, Vani Vilas water works, electricity department, public works department, Mysore city corporation, etc is going on here. The work involves doubling the rail track, re-laying the pipes for water supply,  re-erecting lampposts for electricity and asphalting the roads.

But a year on, there is no end in sight to this magnificent project.

So, in these days of high costs of petrol and diesel, commuters and tourists are forced to take detours on roads not equipped to take the load, spending extra money, wasting time and wasting fuel.

No one knows who is in charge; so no one knows who to hold responsible for the mess: there is no coordinating agency, at least not one which we, the public, have been told, which monitors the work by the various departments and which specifies the date of commencement of work and its completion and the total cost.

Just what is holding up the project completion is unclear when other more important works are taken up round the clock and finished in record time in other cities and even smaller towns.

And as we speak, nobody knows whether it will be completed in the next 40 days, as announced by one of the officials, or if it will take another four months at least according to some other “experts”.

The Chief Minister comes here every now and then for his prayers and distribution of money, and the district in–charge Minister stays very close to this road.

Nobody seems to be bothered.

That is what happens to Janata marga. It is nobody’s baby really.

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But the Raja marga is different.

The Raja marga is supposed to become the ‘pride’ of the administration.

It is supposed to cost Rs 18 crore to upgrade a present stretch of a road of 4. 5 kms and make it the mother of all roads. Naturally everybody is interested and involved. As the name suggests, it will be a ‘Royal Road’ in the heritage city of Mysore,  giving tourists  ‘a feeling of going back to around one hundred years’.

The first phase of work (between Hardinge Circle and K.R. Circle) is likely to be completed before this year’s Dasara festival.

The highlights of this project are a carved stone barricade, slabs to cover the storm water drain, ornamental lamps and tiles. These are supposed to depict the royal days of the Wodeyars.

Only, to facilitate this “feeling” of going back by 100 years, around 250-300 full grown trees will be felled without which the Raja marga cannot not be completed!

The Raja marga will be put to use for about four hours in a year and it is meant for tourists who can’t even walk on the road.

The KRS road which is used by thousands of tourists and commuters, can at best be described a mudtrack, basically meant for bullock carts with potholes and cannot even be termed a decent road. Most of them come back with problem of backache once they traverse up and down.

It is a shame the Government cannot concretise the road or at least ensure there are no potholes and unevenness for the entire stretch. Maintenance of this important road seems to be totally absent.

And we have money that is being poured into Raja marga in the name of tourists to give them a feeling of royalty hundred years ago.

The maharajas of Mysore and their Dewans, Sir M. Visveswaraya and Sir Mirza Ismail, and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in whose name this disgrace called national urban renewal mission (JNNURM) is being conducted… wish you were all here. You are all missing something.

Photograph: courtesy M.A.SRIRAM/ The Hindu

Who are the Suresh Kalmadis at work in Mysore?

8 October 2010

K. JAVEED NAYEEM writes: Our Dasara which is an annual event, unlike the Commonwealth Games, has already started. But like the Commonwealth Games, at least in the Indian version of it, where work never seemed to stop even after the event itself started, all the works which have to be undertaken just to conduct the Dasara seem destined to go on for a long time even after the festival itself concludes.

Another similarity that our Dasara shares with the “common wealth” games is that since they are being done in a tearing hurry without proper supervision and accountability, much of these jobs are naturally of a very shoddy quality although contracts for them are invariably awarded at an astronomically escalated cost.

Though it is a well-known and sadly well-accepted fact that our Dasara is a money-spinner for its many automatic shareholders, I wonder why some proper planning does not go into its preparations.

At least it can then serve its intended purpose of showcasing our City at its best and making our tourists happy that the time, effort and money they spent on seeing it were worth it.

Everywhere all over the city I see work going on at a hectic pace in a vain bid to beat the deadline.

My observation is that whenever this happens and it has been happening with unfailing regularity over the past few years, all the half-done jobs are simply abandoned midway until the next year so much so that our Dasara preparations are best described by the idiom: “Well begun is half done.”

Even as late as this morning I found that the storm-water drain work which has been taken up bang opposite the main gate of Bannimantap grounds, the main venue of our Dasara, is still miles behind completion.

Although Dasara has already started, the whole place still resembles the construction site of some dam or factory. The concrete covering slabs that you see in the foreground of the picture have been cast just last evening and since concrete takes at least three weeks of proper curing to attain its correct strength, I wonder how they can be expected to do their job adequately.

Nevertheless, as we will all soon see, half-baked as they are, they will be used to cover the drain that has been dug on either side of the road and since they will be trampled upon by the jostling crowds on Vijayadashami Day in just a week’s time, they are likely to crack or crumble and go waste.

With the rainy season almost gone and with Dasara so near I wonder why this job had to be undertaken at the last moment this year. It could have been taken up next year along with the mother of all money-spinners that we are all going to see when work on the ‘Raj Path’ commences.

While even an unqualified mason could have given some valuable practical advice on this issue, I wonder how the whole army of our Corporation engineers could have planned this job so improperly.

Is it just to ensure that the huge amount of money that this project fetches is not held up for another full year?

This year’s Dasara seems to take the cake for some of the most important cosmetic jobs being completely ignored and left out of the menu altogether.

The main arch that welcomes our Dasara procession into the Bannimantap grounds, although adorned with its share of decorative light bulbs, still stands with its old maroon paint peeling off in layers. The inordinately ornamental compound wall, which I have criticised in the past for its inappropriate design, stands with its tiles all cracked and dislodged in many places due to acts of vandalism.

Many of the parks and circles where flowering shrubs used to be planted in time for them to bloom during the Dasara and which have been earning our city the sobriquet of the ‘Garden City’ have been left untended. In the days of the Maharajas this lapse would have been considered an unpardonable sacrilege.

A glaring example is the Milleneum Circle which actually is the first landmark that greets all tourists who head for our city from the State capital. Today it stands forlorn with only weeds and uncut grass under the glare of decorative lighting that only helps to show how shabby the place is. This is a spot where some carefully manicured shrubbery which does not obstruct the vision of road-users would have looked decent and appropriate.

The tragedy today is that none among all those who are busy working upon our Dasara seem to have any idea of how it was conducted in the past. It is a well-known fact that Mysore has some very capable and talented brains among its former planners and officers who were at the helm of conducting our Dasara during the sixties and seventies and who now lead retired lives in obscurity.

I think it would not be a bad idea to invite them to offer their experience and expertise which made our Dasaras of the past world famous and which I am sure they would be most willing to share to make our present day Dasaras more beautiful and meaningful.

(K. Javeed Nayeem is a practising physician, who writes a weekly column in the Star of Mysore, where this piece originally appeared)

Photograph: A file photo of the illuminated Amba Vilas palace, the centre of attraction during the Dasara festivities in Mysore, that will be inaugurated on Friday. The palace will be illuminated with more than 97,000 light bulbs. (Karnataka Photo News)

Time to pull out the words ‘world-famous’ again

6 September 2010

It’s that time of the year once again. Dasara is around the corner, and the elephants were welcomed at the main Amba Vilas Palace in Mysore on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: On the morning of the first day of the nine nights

T.S. SATYAN: Once upon a time in our Mysore

DEEPAK THIMAYA: What is so ‘world-famous’?

Once upon a time, on this day, in another age

Dasara elephants being welcomed for Mysore dasara festival at Palace in Mysore on Monday.-KPN

By T.S. SATYAN: Once upon a time in our Mysore

13 December 2009

Like many great photographers and artists, T.S. Satyan had a way with words. He wrote lovely prose with great care and economy, the simplicity of short words often disguising the enormous wisdom.

Like his images, Satyan’s words “captured the common man with uncommon honesty“.

Here is one of his trademark pieces for churumuri.com on Mysore, once upon a time, published in April 2006. A piece that reveals a razor-sharp memory, an eye for detail and a Mysore that used to be.

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Like an unhurried hiker, I walked through the streets of Mysore which had been washed by a light rain the previous night.

My eyes feasted on the enchanting carpets of fallen flowers–the yellow tabebuia, purple jacaranda, pink and white acacia, besides other blooms.

The air was rich with the fragrance of floral bounty, accentuated by the aroma of jasmine and ‘sampige’ wafting from homes which also had bushes of croton, a guava tree and a coconut palm.

I could hear girls playing on the harmonium as they practised their music lessons while their mothers were busy washing the house-fronts with cow dung and decorating them with eye-catching rangoli designs.

Breakfast was already cooking in some homes and I could smell the oggarane––a seasoning of dried chilli and mustard seeds fried in oil, an essential ingredient of Mysore cuisine.

Small groups of people, some wearing the traditional Mysore turban, were enjoying their morning walk. I followed one which was heading for my favourite restaurant in town.

For many decades, its proprietor refrained from naming his establishment which became better known as ‘Nameless’, whose speciality continued to be the “set” which I ordered for myself.

The “set” served on a banana leaf was a pile of four soft dosas, free from oil and topped by coconut chutney, potatoes and two small pats of butter.

Some ‘Nameless’ regulars who were butter-addicts brought in their own larger stock from a nearby shop. They would splash the butter with ferocious fervour on the warm ‘sets’ whose softness seemed to resist the probe of their fingers.

All of us washed down our ‘sets’ by drinking the celebrated Mysore brew––the steaming filtered coffee.

To those with a low appetite or a lean purse, or wanting to share the “sets” and coffee, the restaurant ungrudgingly offered “one-by-two” and even one-by-three” service which is something very special to Mysore: Your right to eat the quantity you needed or to share it with another was recognised by the owner.

Mysore then was free from the impact of the broad gauge train and the jet plane.

It was famous not only for its cuisine but also for agarbathis (scented incense sticks), areca, betel, silk and sandal. One was struck by the vast variety and abundance of flowers in the markets and their regular use by every one in town. Jasmine––mallige–-was the people’s favourite.

Right opposite the restaurant where I ate, I saw many girls and women buying arm lengths of jasmine to adorn their plaits. The most popular book of modern Kannada poetry by K.S. Narasimha Swamy is named after the jasmine––Mysooru Mallige.

I returned home in an auto rickshaw which was also filled with jasmine scent. In front of the driver was a framed picture of Hanuman decorated with strings of mallige.

I complimented him on his good taste only to be told that he had to eat only half a ‘set’ at the restaurant so that he could buy the flowers.

Did not Saadi say that if he had two loaves, he would sell one and buy a narcissus?

Photograph: T.S. Satyan, then 85, shooting the kusti at the Mysore Dasara in October 2007 (Karnataka Photo News)

Visit T.S. Satyan’s Tasveer portfolio: here

T.S. Satyan’s last few interviews: The Hindu-I, Mint, The Hindu-II, Frontline Club, Time Out

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Also read: T.S. SATYAN: The R.K. NARAYAN only I knew

After ‘world-famous Dasara’, the infamous Mysore

2 November 2009

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji was fuming as she fanned herself with a beesanige in the October heat.

The scheduled power cut in Ajji‘s votthaara varied from eight to ten hours a day, apart from the unscheduled power cuts which could stretch to any length of time depending on whether they was a BJP meeting or a BJP rebels meeting or a Congress meeting at the National High School grounds.

“After atheevrishti, now it’s anaavrushti. After the plenty, now the poverty,” thought Ajji.

Less than a month ago, there were serial light thoranas of 100 bulbs for every 50 feet on major roads through out the City for 10 days. Not to mention the Amba Vilas palace with one lakh bulbs lit for 10 days, three hours every night.

My brother’s son, Papu, who had come for Deepavali holidays and was preparing for his geography exams read aloud ‘Kaggatthaleya Khanda–Africa’.

An incensed Ajji corrected him.

Papacchi! ‘Kaggatthaleya Kugrama Mysuruantha odo.”

I was surprised, for Ajji normally never loses her cool.

Yenu samachara Ajji? ‘Muttidare Muni’ aagiddiya ivatthu?’

Alvo! Is anybody bothered about Mysore? There is endless ‘powarkattu’ day and night. Businessmen and industrialists are twiddling their thumbs. Roads at night look like daily Amavasya. Walking is a Herculean exercise moving between Shobha Karandlaje’s potholes that is Mysore now!’

“That’s true, Ajji.”

“But just a month back the minister, her CM, cabinet colleagues and the babudom from Vidhana Soudha were all  holidaying here with lights on day and night at a stretch. If we didn’t have the light thorana, they could have illuminated a quarter of our City, and in four years the whole city would be well lit.”

“That was Dasara, Ajji.”

“Yes, the “world–famous Dasara” for 10 days! Mysoreans go through hell, the rest of the year, the balance 354 days, having to endure poor infrastructure such as horrible roads and no streetlights even on major roads. Hunsur Road has no street lights and so too long stretches of KRS Road leading to world-famous Brindavan Gardens. Most of the jobs ‘completed’ for Dasara are all hotchpotch third-rate work.  Contractors are lucky to get away scot-free.”

“Ajji! Chescom chief Shanthi says two out of four generators in Raichur Thermal Power Station are down.”

“Is there anything new? I have been hearing the same story over the last 10 years! When has it ever worked fully? I read in Prajavani, if we stop illegal corrupt connections, thefts and power losses, we will have enough power to light up even a small hut in a village in the whole of Karnataka. Shanthamma herself will agree that there is enough money in Karnataka amongst some of its polticians and government staffu to start four more thermal power stations. Santhosh Hegde knows who all can be called upon to finance the project!”

“Ajji, you are batting like Sehwag hitting sixer after sixer!”

Matthenu madodu? Mysoreannu  keLuvare illa. Subbamma’s son, Venkatesha’s electronic relaysu chipsu factory anthe. Since there is no power whole day, doesn’t even go to his factory.”

Ajji! This is not chips that you eat! It is an electronic component.”

“Whatever! Aayamma Karandlaje , what is she doing? I read, she is already planning for next Dasara! For heaven’s sake! You know what should be the slogan of Mysoreansu? “Shobamma! Give us our daily power, better roads, water to drink. Thanks!! Please Keep Dasara to yourself”!”

It’s not the winning that counts, it’s the grinning

24 September 2009

KPN photo

At the Dasara half-marathon, the minister in charge of Mysore district, Shobha Karandlaje, shows her youthful best as her cabinet colleague Gulihatti Shekhar and others try to keep pace, in Mysore on Thursday. Don’t ask us if she completed the race or not.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

A sleepy town: now officially recognised by govt

23 September 2009

It’s one thing for travel writers dipping into their thesauruses to blindly term Mysore “a sleepy town” or “a pensioner’s paradise”. But what when the government officially believes that all Mysoreans are in a perpetual state of siesta for eleven months and 20 days of the year, and only wake up to smell the (filter) coffee for the nine nights of Navaratri?

Great branding?

Or a maha insult?

‘Honey, somebody shrunk the Amba Vilas palace’

12 August 2009

With Dasara round the bend, temporary shacks come up in the vicinity of the main palace in Mysore to house the elephants and the mahouts arriving from the forests to take part in the festivities.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Dabbudabbudabbu dot Dasara in Bellary dotcom

2 August 2009

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: With Dasara festivities only a few months away, furious preparations are underway at various levels.

Who’s thinking what?

***

Chief Minister (while addressing the Dasara celebration committee): “I want this year’s Dasara to be the grandest ever. If you want money for anything—anything—as long as it has something to do with Dasara, you have only to ask me.”

CM (to himself):  “I must get Advaniji to open the Dasara at Chamundi Hills come what may. That way Ananth‘s plan to get Raj Nath Singhji will be nipped in the bud? I hope the President doesn’t accept Shobha‘s invite, or the Ambani Brothers, the Reddy Brothers’ invite.”

***

Reddy brothers: “Abbayi! Yentha hungama idi! How much will it cost to get Chamundi Hills here, fly the elephants and organize the 10-day stuff including torchlight parade? Let’s throw a challenge and do Dasara in Bellary. And we must set up a website: dabbudabbudabbu dot mysoredasara in bellary dot com with a Twitterulu and Facebook accountulu.”

***

Meanwhile at the Dubare elephant camp:

Mahout leader: “If the government does not cough up more TA/ DA,  I will make sure there’s no Jamboo Savari this year. I will say Balarama has broken his leg. We will not be fooled again by the DC and district minister having khara baath, rava kesari and jamoon for breakfast with us in front of TV and newspaper wallahs.”

Balarama: “Gajapayana, my foot! There’s no way I am going to walk all the way and trek back once again. I would like to be picked up, along with my girlfriends at the camp and dropped back, sort of door–to-door service. We should also have some majaa like the others. Otherwise let them manage with elephant cutouts from Rangayana!”

***

At the City and district offices:

Contractor: “Only Rs 2 crore for tarring the roads? I just did that stretch last month. Luckily the rains, though late, have washed off all the tar. I must ask for more money as the number of heads to share has increased. Otherwise I have to do a ‘remix’ with more sand and less cement!”

Mayor: “Dasara is almost upon us and hope it goes well this year. But what’s the guarantee? Will I even get an invitation? Will they give me enough time to put on my robe before hauling me up the crane to garland Balarama? Most important, will I get a chair to sit in Bannimantap?”

Corporation Commissioner: If the phata-phat JNNURM subway doesn’t come up after so many months, I will become naram. Hope the pourakarmacharis don’t strike work on those 10 days!”

Hotel: “Doubling the room rates is not enough to make up for bleak business for the rest of the year. Also the touts sweeping the railway station and bus stand for customers are asking for more commission. If we cannot increase room tariff, must ‘adjust’ in lunch and dinner with holillada sambhar and neeru saaru.”

Autorickshaw driver: “We have to do something with our meters; must get them ‘refixed’ again at the rate of at least 1: 1.5.  Duplicate petrol rates have also increased. Must get association to do a directory of the main duplicate petrol depots in the City so that we don’t have to burn a hole in our pockets filling the real thing.”

Sub-Committee Member: After spilling lot of blood, sweat, tears and you-know-what, I have become a sub- committee member. If I don’t get a sizeable mamool, it will all be a huge waste and Dasara will be a dead loss for me.”

Police Commissioner: “I can make sure Dasara is trouble free despite communal and terror fears. But how will I control the ministers’ families, aunts and nieces, nephews and grand nephews, first and nth cousins with their dogs and goats. I am already getting nightmares in the mornings already.”

Deputy commissioner: “There are a zillion and one things to do and only 24 hours in my organiser. I also have to keep my bags packed each day as I may be asked to move and report at Bidar, Bookana Kere or wherever.”

***

Meanwhile…

The general public: “With thogari bele and hesaru bele prices hitting the roof and aloo gedde becoming something like gold to be sold only in C. Krishnaiah Chetty & Sons and Bhima Jewellers, what shall we eat? How can we fill our stomachs listening to Sonu Nigam, Kunal Ganjawala, Guru Kiran or dancing with Vasundara Doreswami and singing with Vasundara Das…?

‘Gangavva, yele southekaayi bandaithe kanavva!’

21 July 2009

KRISHNA VATTAM writes from Mysore: My daughter-in-law Shantala was sobbing as she woke me up this morning.

“Mama, Gangavva is no more,” she said, and broke down.

The rest of the morning was not the same for me, too, a journalist long used to being woken up at odd hours by people anxious to have the news of the demise of their near and dear ones published in the early editions of newspapers; long used to hearing news of accidents and deaths.

“Gangavva is no more,” had had a telling effect, and it was far from impersonal.

Was it the magical spell of the music of Gangubai Hanagal that had made me to adulate her? No. She was Gangavva to an even unlettered vegetable vendor, who has no ear to any classical music, be it Hindustani or Carnatic, except to the cheap beats of Kannada songs.

When I was in Hubli three years ago, where my son was the correspondent of Deccan Herald and where Shantala was learning music from Gangubai , I was taken by them to the weekly shandy.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Gangubai, then all of 94, shopping there, with a vegetable vendor who clearly identified her beckoning her by name:

Gangavva, yele southekaayi bandaithe avva (Gangavva, come, buy some tender cucumber).”

Or, was it her down-to-earth qualities, clad in simple Ilkal cotton sarees, that endeared her to one and all?

When my son had called on her in connection with a feature he was doing, it appears she casually asked about his parents. It was in 1999 when she was visiting Mysore to inaugurate the Dasara music festival she took my address from my son and honoured us with her visit to our small home. Shantala was also there on the occasion.

Gangubai Hanagal took my grandson, Shashank, in her arms. We were quite embarrassed and apologetic as the 10-month-old child urinated on her saree.

She was least disturbed.

Bidi, nanu makalanna hadide doddoulu agilla (It’s all right. I have not grown up without giving birth to children).”

***

Veteran journalist Krishna Vattam is the former Mysore correspondent of Deccan Herald

Look, who’s giving Tughlaq a run for his money!

25 January 2009

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: There is much happening in Mysore but it’s all mostly topsy-turvy. They are trying to convert a bus-stand into a park, and a park in to a bus stand, all because a lot of money is flowing through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) or some such.

It has upset everybody and no wonder Ajji is most furious. She threw the Praja Vani she was reading in disgust.

Ideno anyaya! Why don’t they let things be? Because they are getting money from Jawaharlal Nehru should they break everything at sight and build it all anew?”

Ajji, Nehru is not giving any money. He died long back. In his name they have started a mission and money is coming from the mission.”

I tried to calm her down.

“I don’t know why these misshines are breaking each and everything. Why do they want to build a bus stand in place of a park?” she demanded.

“So, that there is more space for buses to move around.”

“Don’t people need parks to walk around? And they want to convert the bus stand which is centrally located into a park. What kind of logic is this? Are we going back to Mohammed bin Tughlaq days?” she thundered.

I marveled at the memory of the 90+ woman, considering she barely went to school before she was married.

Ajji, you are right. These days Tughlaq- style development seems to have become popular again.”

Yenopa! Nanage ondu artha vagolla. Alla! If they want both the bus stand and the park, it is available at one place. Why don’t they consider it?”

Here was a googly from Ajji which beats the best of doosras from Muthaiah Muralidharan.

“Where is it available, Ajji? If our CM or Shobha Karandlaje likes your plan, you will surely get a Rajyothsava award later this year.”

Avasara padabedvo, Ramu. They want to save the palace. Don’t they?” she gave me a Karan Thapar–style stare which unnerves most of his interviewees.

“Yes.”

I tried to avoid her eyes.

“They also want a good park there. Right?”

“Absolutely. Is there such a place Ajji?”

“The palace, the palace itself. Where else will you find a nice park and a splendid building for a bus stand?”

I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. It was preposterous of an idea, if there was one.

Ajji! Ninge thale sariyagi ideya? Have you gone crazy? How can you make Mysore Palace a bus stand although I agree to the bit of a park surrounding the Palace?”

“If you can make a bus stand out of Peoples’ Park, why is this not feasible? More over it is very easy; the building already exists. All you have to do is put some stone benches for people to sit next to their luggage. Convert a room into a military hotel, have some kind of announcement blaring continuously, with buses moving in reverse to the bay overseen by a whistling conductor, you have a bus stand all set ready to go. Our traffic police will try some experiments like “No Entry to northbound vehicles from south gate and vice versa.” All you need are a few more things like boards giving the time table, a ticket counter and a tea stall that sells newspapers It’s so easy. You can return the money to Jawahar Lal Nehru Masshines’.

“Ajji! It is JNNURM or you can say ‘NURM’.”

Nurmu, gurmu I don’t understand. But this is feasible compared to the Tughlaq Plan.”

“Ajji, what about foreigners who flock to see Palace? What about Dasara?”

“Tourists will love sitting in the park eating sippe kadalekayi watching buses come and go. As for Dasara they can shift the 10-day programme to the exhibition grounds.”

“What about the world-famous Dasara exhibition there?”

“Don’t worry Ramu. By that time they will take money from Nurm or some Drum and build an Exhibition centre in Bannimantap,” said Ajji.

Ajji is sending her proposal to the Government.

I am waiting to see if she gets a Rajyotsava Award for her ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.

A crash course in bonhomie for our hate-mongrels

18 November 2008

From an era of co-operation and camaraderie, the Tamil and Kannada film industries have quickly sunk into a vortex of distrust and dislike for each other; both sides being held hostage by fire-spitting linguistic and parochial hatemongers whose lives and livelihoods depend on whipping up passions.

At the Dasara exhibition in Mysore, a simple churumuri peddler pays  a sepia-tone tribute to the good times that have gone with M.G. Ramachandran and Dr Raj Kumar, giving the screen gods an even higher pedestal than the hallowed ones adorning the shop floor.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Double tragedy for the king and the commoner

12 October 2008

The scion of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, loses balance while climbing the “Belli Pallakki” during the Banni Pooja at the main Amba Vilas palace in Mysore, on Vijayadashmi, on Thursday.

The leg injury reportedly sustained by Wodeyar in the process was not the only mishap to dog the festivities this year. Atmavilas V. Ramakrishna, the priest at the royal family’s very private Ganapathi temple inside the palace, who had conducted poojas for 30 years, passed away on the third day of Dasara, on his 85th birthday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

What is so “world-famous” about Mysore Dasara?

10 October 2008

DEEPAK THIMAYA writes from Bangalore: Ministers and bureaucrats, correspondents and reporters, tourist operators and hotel owners… nobody, it seems, can utter the words “Mysore Dasara” without happily slapping the label “world famous” before it.

Is it?

Is the Mysore Dasara “world famous” because we assume that it is indeed a world famous event? Is it “world famous” because we think people all over the world are aware of it? Or is it “world famous” because we think that the things we see in the procession are really world class?

Let us give a moment for yesterday’s “grand procession”.

Do we really believe that people from the world over would pay to come and watch the rolling out of grotesque structures made of cardboard, canvas and plaster of paris, passing off as exhibits representative of the great “culture” and “progress” of Karnataka?

Have we stopped even a moment to see whether the way we conduct Dasara deserves the great “world-famous” claim we so loudly and liberally grant it?

Isn’t there anyone who can ensure better tableaux and also design the whole show as a colourful and attractive pageant by still ensuring that the deliberate messages from the State can be built into the visual delight?

Apart from the Jamboosavari which is unparalleled, unquestionably unique, interesting and awe inspiring, what we see in procession after “grand procession” are the same stale choreographed folk dances, the same cliched images of the State, and the chaos and indiscipline intrinsic to our lives.

All these turn the beauty of an elephantine spectacle into a damp squib. And yet we call this “world famous”?

The procession should compliment the howdah bearing the elephant’s regality and not look like a hurried set-up to spend some money in the most unprofessional way possible.

There is so much talent in Karnataka particularly in Mysore with its numerous artists, artistes, and artisans skilled in carving and the arts—and far more can be done. Even the Madikeri Dasara and Mangalore Dasara can teach a lesson or two to the old and stagnant mindset behind Mysore Dasara.

The same money spent on the tableaux and dances can be better spent by monitoring the quality of the displays and also by encouraging the artists who create spectacular tableaux.

Unless such steps are taken, we will continue to see only a handful of white faces staring at the insipid show after having been fooled by the hype and claims for a long time to come, and our dream of making Mysore Dasara a truly world class event will remain just that, a distant dream.

Or, we could just have the Jamboosavari which is good enough by itself by any standard.

(Deepak Thimaya is the host of Udaya TV’s interview programme, Time to Talk)

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Once upon a time, on this day, in another age

9 October 2008

U.B. VASUDEV writes from Tampa, Flordia: Down memory lane, while growing up in Mysore, we looked forward to the Dasara or the Navarathri holidays. Those ten days, which signified goddess Chamundeshwari’s victory over the demon Mahishasura (symbolizing the triumph of good over evil), were the most enjoyable time every year.

The entire City wore a festive look.

As far as I can remember, everyone was high-spirited though everything remained routine year after year.

Pattada Bombe” which perhaps symbolized the King and Queen among all the dolls arranged for the “Bombe habba” got new dresses; the woman was draped in a jari bhutta sari and the man in the typical Mysore Durbar dress ie, white trousers, black long coat with a gold bordered sash around the shoulders and the famous gold striped Mysore “peta” (turban).

It was almost an unassigned task for us kids to wait outside our houses for the booming, reverberating sound of the cannons from the Palace Gun House heralding the auspicious arrival of Dasara to the Mysore Palace and let our mothers know so that they could install the “Kalasha” and observe the festivities.

The festivities were low key for the first six days and reached a crescendo by the seventh day, Saraswathi (the goddess of learning) pooja, when we excitedly piled up all our books to be worshipped so that we did not have to touch them for, at least, a few more days!

The eighth day was Durgashtami.

The ninth and the tenth days were the most spectacular. On Mahanavami, everything from knives to scissors to our bicycles was spotlessly cleaned for the Ayudha (weapon) pooja. All the buses, cars, shah-pasands (the illustrious Mysooru Kudure Gadi) and other transports all over Mysore were richly decorated for the occasion.

n the Palace, public with prior permission from the Palace authorities were allowed to the bleachers in front of the “Bombe thotti” (pavilion of dolls) to watch the celebrations.

After a long wait of two to three hours and as we were getting hungry and impatient, His Highness in his ceremonial attire was escorted to the specially erected canopied platform in front of the Palace to offer pooja. The spectators would be in a state of mystic abstraction for the next hour or so watching the royal paraphernalia that included all his cars, elephants, horses, the silver and gold chariots and many more pass in front of them.

The Amba Vilas Palace, an amazing example of the opulence of the Mysore royalty, designed by the British architect Henry Irwin and built at the turn of the century (1897-1912) was illuminated for all the ten days in addition to some of the public buildings and other landmarks in the city.

Welcome arches were erected all over the city with banners proclaiming long life to the revered son of Yaduvamsha (Chiramabhivardhantam Yadusantana Sri). His Highness late Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar conducted the durbar every evening starting at 7 pm.

At that exact moment, hundreds of thousands of bulbs lit the Indo-Saracenic structure that made it look like an illuminated mirage. The presence of the former king heightened the spirit of the festivities. Legend has it that the bejeweled silver and gold throne made of fig wood and once overlaid with ivory, originally belonged to the Pandavas and is supposed to have come through the Vijayanagara rulers to the Wodeyars of Mysore. With the rich embellishments, it shone under the floodlights of the majestically decorated hall.

A select public was allowed to attend the royal court and only those with the traditional durbar dress were allowed inside. After a brief entertainment, mostly a classical music concert by one of the eminent musicians of that time, folk dances or a wrestling match in the ring in front of the palace, the guard of honor followed and the evening culminated with the state elephant garlanding the chief.

The crowning glory of the ten-day festivities was the royal procession on the last day, Vijayadashami. It is
almost impossible to explain in words the magnificence that pervaded the city that afternoon.

The entire route of the royal cavalcade, about five miles long, from the Mysore Palace to the Bannimantapa was exquisitely decorated with multicolored lights. The businesses on Sayyaji Rao Road erected stages all along the parade route to garland His Highness and offer their respects.

Crowds of people from all over the country lined the parade route, positioned themselves on buses, cars, buildings and fences enroute to watch and admire their favorite king on the elephant back in the storybook spectacle.

A pair of Nandi Kamba(s), decorated bamboo posts carried in a pouch around the waist by the performers and assisted by two or three who held the tethers attached to it for support, led the procession that used to leave the Mysore Palace sometime in the late afternoon.

The entire army that belonged to the Mysore King(s) took part in the parade.

All the distinguished personnel associated with the Palace usually were on horseback or walked in front of the elephant carrying His Highness. Usually, a huge carriage drawn by the elephants (Aane Gaadi) used to house the palace musicians, Asthana Vidwans who used to be in concert all along the parade route.

His Highness, with his uncle behind him, sat in the golden howdah (ambaari with 80 kilograms of gold on a wooden frame) that was tied on the back of the tall and majestic Biligiriranga, a magnificent pachyderm.

Also in the parade were the state horse (Pattada kudure) and the state elephant (Pattadane) that carried the presiding deity of the royal family, goddess Chamundeshwari. Also went along the white dancing horses, the royal Lippizzans that had their tails painted in a rainbow of colors.

After resting for a while at Bannimantapa, His Highness would perform pooja to the legendary Shami tree and carry a branch of the same back to the royal residence.

The Mahabharata legend has it that the Pandavas hid their arms inside the Shami tree while in exile. Before the famous battle of Kurukshetra, they performed the ritualistic worship to the tree in gratitude and recovered their arms.

After a brief entertainment and a torch light parade in honor of the Excellency, the procession would be on its way back to the palace.

The return procession had a grandeur of its own.

I remember heavy downpours as if the heavens were pouring their choicest blessings on the King and his people, on several occasions.

The procession served the purpose of contact between people and the King, as they could not see the king on other days. The other aspect may be, during the olden days kings used to worship the family deities to invoke their blessings before embarking on wars with their elephants, horses, camels and the military.

That may be the background for the procession.

As far as we know, the Mysore Dasara was the best show in all the princely States of India.

We have not heard of any other princely state celebrating Dasara with such pomp and pageantry. The last Dasara procession with His Highness late Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar was in 1973.

When I visited the palace six years back, I was told that his son Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar still continues to maintain the tradition and follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. He conducts durbar every day during the ten-day festival, albeit on a much smaller scale in the Amba Vilas hall, the diwan-i-khas of the Mysore Palace.

The palace is illuminated every evening for about an hour or two and the other activities are continuing though the support from the people has dwindled. It looks as though the magnificence associated with the festivities faded with the late Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar who was very highly respected by his subjects.

The State of Karnataka has tried to continue the tradition without much participation and glitter, however.

It is sad to think that the ten-day festival that was once the crown jewel for the City of Mysore has become just a crown without any sparkling jewel in it. Thus, it is a pleasant though poignant memory for the Mysoreans of yesteryear!

Photograph: Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, flanked by the minister in charge of Mysore district, Shobha Karandlaje, and the mayor of Mysore, Ayub Khan, offer floral tributes to the golden howdah before the commencement of the Dasara procession in Mysore on Thursday afternoon. (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: Dasara in punya bhumi vs Dasara in karma bhumi

All that glitters is, yes, gold for the next ten days

Dasara in Punya Bhumi vs Dasara in Karma Bhumi

5 October 2008

Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, scion of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, in conversation with Shyam Sundar Vattam of Deccan Herald:

“You cannot compare today’s Dasara with the one that was conducted by my forefathers. The present Dasara is neither a festival nor an exhibition of military power. It is not held as mentioned in the Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana and according to me it is off-track.

“Mysore has a rich history and it is believed that 15 demons were vanquished by Goddess Chamundeshwari. These are mentioned in Kayaka Purana, Markandeya Purana and Padma Purana.

“In West Bengal, according to Bengalis, their region is known as Punya Bhumi and the Mysore region as Karma Bhumi. The only difference between West Bengal and Mysore in regard to celebration of Dasara is that there the celebrations are held as per the Puranas whereas it is not so in Mysore especially after the government took over the responsibility of holding Dasara festival every year.

“The last three days of Dasara is celebrated with pomp and pageantry in Bengal, whereas in Mysore it is a colourful celebration on all the 10 days. While Bengalis immerse the idol of Goddess Kali, in Mysore the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is taken out in a colourful procession on elephant.”

Read the full article: Royal Touch

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News


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