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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Low-key Dasara Ends on a High Note

Express Photo

The 405th edition of the world-famous Dasara, that had taken off on a low key, ended on a grand note with lakhs of people turning up to witness the finale of the Navaratri celebrations.

The number of tableaux was down by fifty per cent. But milling crowds lined up the 4.7 km-stretch of the procession route to get a glimpse of the presiding deity Goddess Chamundeshwari being carried in the golden howdah.

People cheered ‘Jai Chamundamma’ when elephant Arjuna carrying the howdah with the Chamundeshwari idol walked majestically past them.

The Vijayadashami procession was the first for the newly coronated scion Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, who was dressed in a silver sherwani.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah offered puja to the Nandi dhwaja at the Balarama Gate of the palace at 12.10 pm. In his message, Siddaramaiah sought the blessings of Goddess Chamundeshwari for good rain and welfare of the people of the state. Defending the government’s decision to hold a low-key Dasara and cut down on the expenses following farmer suicides and prevailing drought situation, he said they have not compromised on the tradition of the centuries-old cultural event. “I am happy people have accepted our decision and turned up in good numbers,” he added.

Siddaramaiah and his cabinet colleagues arrived at the palace in an open jeep and flagged off the procession. The elephants, led by Balarama, comprised accompanied Gopi, Abhimanyu, Vikrama, Harsha and Prashanath. The procession, that was cut down to 60 cultural troupes and 27 tableaux, came alive with the vibrant culture of the Vijayanagar kingdom. Folk artistes and tableaux were informative and threw light on integrated farming methods, judicious use of water, benefits schemes of the Revenue Department, various loans available from the government, power conservation and so on.

The government made use of the occasion to showcase the D Devaraj Urs centenary celebrations, conservation of forests and health programmes of the government. The tableau which showcased Mysuru bagged the first place. Tableaux on social justice and empowerment of downtrodden communities and the centenary of University of Mysore added colour.

As the procession rolled out of the Mysuru Palace premises, the CM offered flowers to the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari idol in the golden howdah. It was followed by a 21-gun salute and singing of the National Anthem to mark the beginning of Jamboo Savari. Though the Dasara festivities began with a stand-off between the royal family and the district administration over fixing the dates for the Ayudha Puja and Vijayadashami procession, it ended on a happy note.

In a First, CM Touches IDOL

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah surprised many of his cabinet colleagues by touching the Chamundeshwari idol placed in Golden Howdah during inauguration of the Jamboo Savari.Though it is a practice that the Chief Minister, the district Minister and the Mayor offer flowers to the presiding deity from a special podium erected at the Mysuru Palace, Siddaramaiah went an extra mile to bend and touch the deity placed inside the Golden Howdah. It was followed by other dignitaries who also tried to touch the feet of the presiding deity. Siddaramaiah, who has clarified that he is neither an atheist nor a theist, had never done so in the past.

Special Arrangements

Special arrangements were made for the visually challenged get a feel of the Dasara procession, thanks to an initiative of Kalpavruksha Trust, which had provided a separate seating gallery for the physically challenged persons near Ayurveda College. Nearly 150 disabled and physically challenged people who had come from places like Tumakuru, Gulbarga, Belgaum and Chikkamagaluru were treated to a running commentary in Kannada of what was passing in front of them, to help them get a feel of the festivities

Foreigners left in the dark

Despite the Jamboo Savari attracting people from across the world, there were no English boards for the global audience. Absence of signages in any global language piqued the foreign tourists as they had to depend on the local people to understand the goings-on. Foreign guests said they encountered difficulties in getting the tickets as there was very little information on the internet.

Jamboo Savari Delayed

The Jamboo Savari, the main attraction of the ten-day Dasara festivities, was delayed by one hour. The death of a person atop the Chamundi Hill forced the priests to bring Chamundeshwari idol one hour late after the cremation was held.  However, the temple priests rushed with the idol to Mysuru Palace at 1.30 pm. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, royal family scion Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, District Minister V Srinivasa Prasada and others offered flowers to Chamundeshwari placed in golden howdah  at 3.07 pm instead of 2 pm.

Source: The New  Indian Express, 24th Oct 2015

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