Dasara is Karnataka’s ‘nada habba’ or state festival.
In the Mysuru Palace, a day ahead of the grand Vijayadashami procession, we met a couple from Italy on their 6th visit to India. Maria Grazia said it was her first time in Mysuru and she liked it very much. “I will not miss the big procession on Saturday,” she said.
“We are here for that!” added her husband, Rolando. “I find it a little bit crowded. To go inside the palace this morning there were too many people. But it was a very nice experience inside. We have flown from Italy to see the procession – don’t forget to have the procession! This is our 6th visit here because I find Indian people a little special. It is for that we come back.”
Fanny from France said, “It is amazing to see all the people. It is like Christmas for us! They have gifts and flowers and just happiness.
Another group of excited visitors were from Singapore.
“It is very beautiful, with the temples and everything – and there is a celebration going on, right?”
“So far, I like the weather and the place is big,” said another visitor from that island.
Among the group, two young women of Indian origin from Singapore were acting as local guides as they had been to the city before.
The biggest event for Mysuru Dasara is the procession that starts from the Amba Vilas palace and winds for 5 kilometres through the city. The elephant procession is part of it, with 15 elephants being brought from their home in an elephant camp in the forests of Nagarahole to the city.
They have been on rehearsals through the route to get used to the city noise – but Saturday afternoon will be the time of the actual Jumboo Savari. The beautiful, decorated elephants are the main attraction with the ‘ambari‘ elephant, Arjuna, carrying the golden howdah with the idol of goddess Chamundeshwari for the 6th year in a row.