The world famous Dasara festival began on Saturday amid tight security on a subdued note in view of the protests over the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu.
Noted Kannada writer Chennaveera Kanavi inaugurated the 406th edition of the state festival by offering prayers at Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari temple atop the hill on the city's outskirts in the presence of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other dignitaries.
Mysuru royal dynasty's adopted scion Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodiyar held a private durbar (court) in the Amba Vilas Palace in the state's cultural capital, about 150 km from Bengaluru.
Though the grand festival is held for 10 days every year, it will be 11 days this time due to an extra day in the Hindu (lunar) calendar owing to planetary movements.
"The scion will hold the khasagi (private) durbar daily for nine days (navarathri) in line with the Yadu dynasty's 600-year-old tradition, worship the armoury and other objects (ayudha puja) in the royal palace on October 10 and witness the victory parade on Vijayadashmi day (October 11)," a palace official told IANS here.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah participated in the inaugural function of the Dasara cultural celebrations and flagged off the festival's sporting events at Chamundi hills. He said that the celebrations had been kept simple this year on account of the ongoing dispute over the Cauvery water release.
As the state's cultural capital, the city of palaces has been spruced and decked up for the grandeur of the fest that will culminate with a victory procession of caparisoned elephants, camels, horses and tableaux from the royal palace to the Bannimantapa grounds in the city for a torch-light parade on October 11.
The tableaux will showcase the state's rich cultural folklore and socio-economic development of the state.
Besides the royal palace, heritage buildings, temples and parks have also been illuminated for the 11-day long mega event.
Earlier, Siddaramaiah flew to Mysuru from Bengaluru in a special flight along with state Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge and a few officials.
The state tourism department is operating twice a day a charted service 'Akasha Ambari' to fly tourists and visitors to Mysuru from Bengaluru to witness the grandeur of the Dasara fest over the next fortnight.
Kairali Aviation Ltd will operate the twin-engine Beechcraft (B-300) with a capacity to fly nine passengers till October 15 at Rs 4,000 one-way fare.