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Historic Mysore Dasara Begins

The historical and religious celebrations of the famous Mysore Dasara began on a low-key note in Mysore from October 17.
It concludes with the victory procession, Vijaya Dasami, on October 26.

Though the Karnataka Government has announced a subdued festival by trimming the budget allocation on account of the drought conditions in some parts of the State, the ten-day celebrations will, however, is having some colourful programmes. The festival was formally inaugurated by renowned Kannada film actress Ms. B. Saroja Devi on October 17. She worshipped the presiding deity of Mysore, Goddess Chamundeswari, in the newly built Raga Ragini Mantapa, atop the Chamundi Hills, in the morning.

She expressed her unhappiness over the Government's decision to celebrate the festival of Goddess Shakti on a low-scale. Dasara celebrations, which marked victory of goodness over evil, should not suffer on account of one reason or the other, as was mostly happening every time, the noted actress said.The Department of Kannada and Culture is arranging singing of patriotic songs at the Palace premises between 6 and 7-30 p.m. This will be followed by a police band programme by the Mysore District Police between 7-30 and 8-30 p.m. Colourfully dressed police band units from different districts will present a musical for one hour. This will include rendering of classical and western compositions. On the concluding day of the music programmes on October 25, the prestigious 'Sangeetha Vidwan' award will be presented to the noted Hindustani musician of North Karnataka.

The major event, the procession of Goddess Chamundeswari, the idol kept in the golden howdah on the back of the decorated elephant, Balarama, will take place on October 26. Besides the howdah elephant, about a dozen other jumbos will also take part in the procession, starting from the Palace. The low-key Vijaya Dasami procession will have 68 items, ncluding 25 folk dance troupes from eight districts of Mysore division. Despite the announcement of low-key celebrations, some districts have come forward to take out floats in the procession.

The Vijaya Dasami procession will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Mr. S.M. Krishna on October 26 at 3 p.m. by offering flowers to the Nandi Dhwaja, the leading item of the participating contingents. At 3-25 p.m., the Chief Minister will perform pooja to Chamundeswari idol kept in the golden howdah on Balarama. The Palace is continuing to be the main venue during the nine days, from October 17 to October 25, with cultural programmes being held every evening. Well-known local musicians are performing before the lit-up Palace. The Palace is being gorgeously illuminated every evening. However, the procession route and important circles enroute are not being lit up this time.

The Exhibition at sprawling Doddakere Maidan, opposite the Palace, was inaugurated on October 17, after a lot of doubts in view of the Government's decision to cancel the exhibition this year. The exhibition will last over 45 days. For the first time, the entire arrangement has been handed over to a private The Karnataka Exhibition Authority has decided on its own to go ahead with the Dasara party for a total sum of over Rs. 1.35 crores. Mostly private parties are taking part while the departments of the State and Central Government are staying away.

Mr. Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, scion of the Mysore royal family, is celebrating the Navaratri festival with religious rites. Besides worshipping Goddess Devi in her different forms, he is holding private Durbar, seated on the golden throne. He will go in a procession on the Vijaya Dasami day at 12-30 p.m. to the temple within the Palace Fort. The Chief Minister will be present on the occasion.

In view of the celebrations by the royal family, the admission to the Palace for visitors is being regulated from October 16 to November 4. The modified timings will be: October 16 - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., October 17 - 1-30 p.m. to 5-30 p.m., October 18 to 24 - 10 a.m. to 5-30 p.m., October 25 - 1-30 p.m. to 5 p.m., October 26 - Entry closed on account of Vijaya Dasami procession, October 27 to November 3 - 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., and November 4 - 1-30 p.m. to 5-30 p.m. From November 5 onwards, timings will be back to normal hours - from 10 a.m. to 5-30 p.m.

The Palace is being specially illuminated during the festival period. The illumination hours: October 17 to 25 - 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., October 26 - 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. On account of Chamundeswari Rathotsava (car festival) and Theppotsava (floating festival) atop the Chamundi Hills, the Palace will also be lit up on November 2 and November 4 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A variety of plants and flowers, vegetables are on show. It will conclude on October 29. Prizes will be awarded to be best parks and gardens, home gardens and kitchen gardens and best horticulturists.
The Brindavan Gardens at Krishnarajasagar is being specially illuminated from 6-30 to 9-30 p.m. from October 24 to 28.

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