Mysore Dasara Festival Witnessing India's Grandest Celebrations

Packed with deep-rooted tradition and grandeur, the Mysore Dasara Festival is one of India's most vibrant spectacles. Every year, the city of Mysore turns into a dazzling wonderland, engulfed in lights, music, and cultural richness. But there's more to this royal city during Dasara. Mysore offers a plethora of things to do and places to visit that can enrich your travel experience. This guide will take you through the city's grandest annual celebration, along with the best hotels, resorts, and accommodation in Mysore to ensure a memorable stay in mysuru.
 
Understanding the Mysore Dasara Festival
 
Historical Roots of the Celebration
 
Mysore Dasara has a rich history dating back to the 15th century, initiated by the Vijayanagar Kings. Later, the festival received a significant boost under the rule of the Wodeyars of Mysore, who treated Dasara as a "Naada Habba" or people's festival. This tradition continues to this day and has contributed to the festival's fame across the globe.
 
Mysore Dasara commemorates the triumph of good over evil, marked by the slaying of the demon king Mahishasura by the goddess Durga, who took the form of Chamundeshwari. The city's name, Mysuru, is derived from "Mahishasurana ooru," meaning "the town of Mahishasura" in Kannada. The festival is celebrated over ten days, culminating on Vijayadashami, the day of Chamundeshwari's victory.
 
Vibrant Festivities and Cultural Extravaganza
 
The Mysore Dasara celebrations kick off with an inauguration and a cultural event on the first day. On the sixth day, the goddess Saraswathi is honored, followed by celebrations dedicated to the goddess Durga on the eighth day, and the goddess Lakshmi on the ninth day.
 
The grand finale, Vijayadashami, is marked by an opulent procession that starts from the famed Mysore Palace and culminates at the Bannimantap, a place of historical significance in the city. Here, the 'Banni' tree, believed to bestow strength and victory, is worshipped, mirroring the practice of ancient warriors praying for victory before heading to war.
A major attraction of the procession is the 12 Dasara Jumbos or Jumboo Savari, elephants specially chosen and trained for the event. The leading elephant carries a 750-kg-heavy Golden Howdah containing an idol of the goddess Chamundeshwari. This year, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, only five elephants will partake in the Jumboo Savari, ensuring the event maintains its grandeur while prioritizing safety.
 
Mysore Dasara Exhibition: A Showcase of Innovations
 
Another unique feature of the Mysore Dasara is the famous exhibition initiated by Chamaraja Wodeyar X in 1880. This exhibition was designed to introduce the latest innovations and developments to the people of Mysore. Today, the Karnataka Exhibition Authority conducts the exhibition, which continues for two months post-festival. The exhibition features various games, rides, and stalls from public and private sector industries, government departments, and leading business establishments, promoting their businesses and achievements.
 
Planning Your Mysore Visit During Dasara: A Guide
 
When to Visit
 
Mysore Dasara usually falls in October, with the dates varying each year based on the Hindu calendar. In 2020, the festival will be celebrated from October 17 to 27. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Karnataka has decided to keep the celebrations subtle, focusing primarily on traditional rituals held exclusively at the Mysore Palace.
 
Where to Stay: Resorts and Hotels in Mysore
 
Mysore boasts a wide range of accommodation options, from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly hotels. However, it's advisable to book early, as the city fills up quickly during Dasara. Here are some of the best places to stay in Mysore:
 
Royal Orchid Brindavan Garden & Spa
 
Overlooking the world-renowned Brindavan Gardens, the Royal Orchid Brindavan Garden & Spa offers a charming blend of heritage and luxury. This hotel features 24 selected rooms that exude the grandeur of the Maharajas era. It's frequented by celebrities and those seeking solitude and privacy. The hotel's courtyard-style coffee shop, Garden Cafe, and Elephant Bar offer balcony-views of Brindavan Gardens, while its multi-cuisine restaurant, C.Ks offers a boutique dining experience.
The hotel also features a garden, a 'giant' chessboard, a spa, a pool table, karaoke, and PlayStation for recreation. A four-hour drive from Bangalore, the Royal Orchid Brindavan Garden & Spa is a preferred choice for visitors to Mysore Palace, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Chamundi Hills, and other tourist attractions.
 
Other noteworthy accommodations include the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, a colonial-era palace turned hotel, and the heritage hotels located within the city like The Green Hotel and Hotel Metropole.
 
Exploring Mysore: Places to Visit and Things to Do In Mysore
 
Mysore offers a multitude of attractions and experiences beyond the Dasara festival. Some of the best places to visit include the Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills, Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Brindavan Gardens, Karanji Lake, Dussehra Exhibition, and the Yuva Dasara at the Maharaja Grounds. Food enthusiasts can explore the city's culinary scene with local delicacies like Mysore Pak and Mysore Masala Dosa.
 
Why is Dasara celebrated in Mysore?
 
Dasara, a Hindu festival celebrated all across India, has a special significance in Mysore due to the grandeur of its celebrations. The festival commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon king Mahishasura. The tradition of celebrating Dasara in Mysore was started by the Vijayanagar Kings and later continued by the Wodeyars of Mysore.
 
Is it good to visit Mysore during Dasara?
 
Yes, Dasara is an excellent time to visit Mysore. The city transforms into a fairy-tale landscape adorned with lights, music, and cultural richness. The weather is also pleasant during this time, making it perfect for sightseeing and enjoying the festivities.
 
When was Mysore Dasara started?
 
The tradition of celebrating Mysore Dasara dates back to the 15th century and was initiated by the Vijayanagar Kings.
the vibrant processions, or the mesmerizing cultural performances, Mysore Dasara promises to leave you with memories that last a lifetime.
 

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