Karnataka's Mysuru is all decked up to welcome thousands of visitors for the royal victory parade on Friday marking the grand finale of the 10-day Dasara festival.
The victory parade involves a grand procession of caparisoned elephants, horse-drawn carriages, tableaux and thousands of artistes from the Amba Vilas Palace, popularly known as Mysuru Palace, till the Bannimantap Grounds through the city's lanes.
To be flagged off by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, the grand finale begins at the auspicious time in the afternoon with the Chief Minister invoking Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari and showering flowers on her idol replica in the 750-kg golden palanquin, astride caparisoned jumbo Arjuna at the gates of the palace.
The iconic Mysuru Palace built in 1912 has been lit up with thousands of light bulbs during the evening on all days of the fest.
The spectacular royal victory procession, which draws thousands of visitors to the streets of the city, later takes off and proceeds to the Bannimantap Gounds for the torch light parade at 7 p.m. after Governor Vajubhai Vala receives the guard of honour.
The royal family's adopted scion Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar will be the chief guest at the main event (victory march) on Vijayadashami day, the final day of Dasara.
Mysuru, located about 150 km from the state capital Bengaluru, attracts visitors from across the world during Dasara, which has been celebrated over centuries to mark the triumph of good over evil.
The festival dates back to 1610 when a ruler of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore from Wadiyar dynasty, Raja Wadiyar, organised Dasara celebrations.
Ever since, the royal family has played a significant part in the grand event which earned popularity across the world.
The festive celebrations, which are usually filled with pomp and pageantry, draw at least 10 lakh visitors.
Due to heavy flood damage in adjacent Kodagu district in August, the 10-day festive activities have been drawing relatively lesser crowds compared to previous year, according to the officials.
Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murty had flagged off the festival celebrations on October 10.