Take a weekend break from Bangalore and head out for an exciting road trip to Mysore, which is just 150 km away. This quaint city is located at the foothills of Chamundi Hills and is a well known for its magnificent palaces, history, and heritage that bears the glorious legacy of the Wadiyar dynasty. Considered to be the ‘Cultural capital of Karnataka, art, and culture has evolved here under the patronage of the Wadiyar rulers in the distinctive ‘Mysore’ style. Cabs from Bangalore to Mysore take tourists from Bangalore to Mysore in a hassle manner after covering a distance of 150 km within 3 hours.
The Royal Procession in Mysore
Dussehra is a major festival of Mysore, held on September-October that mark the tradition of the communal harmony of the people living in this cosmopolitan city. Started by the Vijayanagara kings in the 15th century, the annual Dasara festival is a gala event that attracts tourists globally. On the ninth day or Mahanavani or Navaratri, the ornate royal sword is taken out in a procession comprising of elephants, horses, and camels. On the tenth day or Vijayadashami, the festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demons.
In the olden times, the Jamboo Savari or the highly embellished elephant with the Maharaja on its back used to be taken out as a procession that moved through the streets of Mysore. However, now the royal elephant carries the idol of Goddess Chamundi in a magnificent procession followed by dance troupes, music bands, and tableaux that showcase the wonderful display of the religious customs of Mysore. Starting from the Mysore Palace, it culminates at the Bannimantapa. The Banni tree is worshipped here. After this, a torchlight parade is held at the Bannimantap parade grounds that attract visitors in large numbers. For decades the people of Mysore have decorated their houses, displayed dolls and exchanged sweets to neighbors and friends during Dussehra with great mirth and enthusiasm. Tourists who want to witness the pomp and grandeur of the Dussehra celebration must visit Mysore during this time.
The Sounds and Lights of the Mysore Palace
The main attraction of the Dussehra festival is the brilliant lighting display of the Mysore Place that is an awe-inspiring sight to behold for all tourists. Various religious and cultural programs are also performed at the richly illuminated Mysore palace during this time. A beautiful firework show marks the end to the celebrations. Opposite to this palace, there is an exhibition ground where an array of locally made handicraft items likes rosewood inlay work, ivory and sandalwood items along with eatables like Mysore Pak sweets are sold. A play area with a Ferris wheel provides entertainment options for all groups of visitors to the fair.
Car rental in Mysore can be availed around the city to the other dance and music concerts that are held during Dussehra in the various auditoriums and cultural centers. Travellers interested in watching wrestling matches can find renowned wrestlers from all over India participating in matches held at several venues during Dussehra.
The Folk-Lore Museum is an ideal place for art lovers, located in the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion. Sand Sculpture Museum, Jaganmohan Palace, Regional Museum of Natural History also are prominent places to explore in Mysore. Travelers who want to see the Dussehra festival of Mysore must plan their trip in advance as it gets very crowded during this time. Separate tickets for the royal procession and torch parade need to be purchased in advance to avoid any unnecessary hassles.