Nadahabba of the State of Karnataka
Mysuru Dasara a Festival known as the Pride of Karnataka. It is the largest and most decorated festival organised under the auspices and aegis of Government of Karnataka. When it comes to calling a country, it must have a long history, it must have a purpose, it should have people’s involvement, which then becomes the people’s festival, hence the synonym of festival is called Mysuru Dasara.
If you look at the history of Mysuru Dasara, it has its vast legacy. It was inaugurated by Sri Raja Wodeyar, the King of Mysuru in 1610 AD in Srirangapattana. So was there no Dasara before that? There was, but we get information about Navaratri or Dasara that took place in the Vijayanagara Empire. The Vijayanagara Empire began in 1336 AD. The rulers of Vijayanagar had declared Vijayanagara Empire as a Hindu kingdom. Thus, the main festival of Hindus, Navratri, is celebrated. Though we do not know the exact date of the festival, it is known that Dasara was held in Vijayanagara. Except for the first few years, the festival has a history of more than 650 years. The Vijayanagara kings did not necessarily celebrate the Navratri festival. From the pre-Christian times, we find that there is a Navratri celebration. In many of our myths, religious legends provides the lengthy information about Navratri celebrations. This means that this ritual has been practiced for at least three thousand years. The Dasara festival is perhaps the most celebrated ten-day festival in the world, which is why its fondly called as Pride of Karnataka
Although Navratri was initially limited to the rituals of worship, it appears to have been a cultural heritage from the Vijayanagara Empire. During the ten days of that night, the kings were wearing bracelets and were required to stay in the palace for ten days. During this course of time they used to pay the taxes owed by them. During this time not only they paid taxes but brought in a large number of artists, as well as an army. At the end of the Navratri, the kings were observing their army on Vijayadashami. As the rest of the evening progressed, artists from different parts of the world displayed their craftsmanship in Vijayanagar. Since then the Dasara Festival has opened up to religious as well as cultural activities.
The Dasara Festival also began during the Kingdom of Mysuru after which Mysuru Wodeyars or we fondly call then the Mysore Maharajas began to rule independently (1610). Under the leadership of the Maharaja, the festival was highly disciplined and splendid. The Dasara Festival was held in great glory during the times of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Tenth Chamaraja Wodeyar, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar and Jayachamaraja Wodeyar.
There were fears that the Dasara festival might cease after the country’s independence came to an end with Maharaja’s rule. However, the people of Mysuru were demanding that the Dasara festival should never be stopped. So after 1973, the Dasara festival is being held under the auspices of the government. The involvement from the people are so intense in this festival that they use feel as if something is missing if Dasara does not take place for a year. People want Dasara to stand for no reason. This Dasara is no longer a festival of Mysuru, but is instead celebrated as a Pride of Karnataka. People from all corners of the state visit Dasara. Tourists from other parts of the country as well as from abroad visit Mysuru during Dasara.
Dasara, too, is open to modernity without being a stagnant water. New innovations are on display each and every year as it evolves. During the Mysuru Dasara, the city of Mysuru is decorated not only with flowers, the whole city is illuminated, one must say it’s a treat to the eyes. It draws so much attention that in the evening, people come to the streets to see the lighting and indulges with family whilst taking the photographs with friends and families.
Although the amount of celebration has been reduced due to Corona this year, there will be a simple Dasara celebration. The Government of Karnataka has taken a firm stance not to break the jinx of not conducting the festival and yet continue the legacy from the years together.
Due to the Global pandemic from Corona virus most of the people will not have an access to Dasara viewing in person, to ensure everyone witnesses this legacy the Government of Karnataka has ensured to have a live streaming of all the programmes of the festival via web and on all the social media platforms to enable the glory of the festival.