Celebrations for the famed Dasara festival in Mysuru kick-started on Wednesday, setting the stage for a 10-day festivities, witnessed by thousands of visitors who throng the city. This year, Sudha Murthy, writer and philanthropist who heads the Infosys Foundation, inaugurated the celebrations.
The festivities would begin with the Wodeyar royal couple performing a special puja to Goddess Chamundeshwari in the Chamundi Temple located on the top of Chamundi Hill at Mysuru. This year, the festival celebrations at the temple were carried out by Sudha Murthy, accompanied by Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, his ministers and other officials.
They offered a puja at the temple, paying homage to the long-standing tradition set by the Wodeyar royal family.
"I am blessed to inaugurate the Dasara festival. It is an honour and privilege," said Sudha Murthy at the celebrations. As the festival has historical relevance dating back to the 16th century when the Wodeyar kings used to celebrate it, Sudha said the state government should include it in school curriculum to inspire the younger generations.
"Dasara festival is different from Ganesha Utsav and Diwali as it has a long history of over 400 years," said Sudha, who also announced that the Infosys Foundation would donate Rs 25 crore for flood relief in Kodagu.
The festival marks the Hindu Goddess Chamundeshwari's defeat of the demon Mahishasura, signifying the victory of good over evil. Mysuru takes its name from Mahishasura. The city of Mysuru has a long tradition of celebrating the Dasara festivities in elaborate fashion, a practice that traces its roots to the 16th-century king of Mysuru Raja Wodeyar I.
The celebrations continue with Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar, the latest member of the erstwhile royal family, ascending the golden throne at the durbar hall of Mysuru, marking the beginning of celebrations at the Mysuru Palace in a traditional manner.
Held over 10 days, the festivities involve processions, dances, music, varieties of cultural activities and a torch-light parade.