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Dasara Concludes Drawing Thinner Crowds

A shoe-string budgetted Dasara concluded in Mysore on October 26 with a far lesser crowd than the previous years witnessing the finale, the Vijaya Dasami procession, while rain gods showered their blessings with a 15-minute non-stop rain.

The star attraction of the 10th day procession was of course Goddess Chamundeswari, the idol placed in the 750 kg golden howdah atop the tastefully decorated 43-year-old majestic Balarama. Two female elephants, Kokila and Saroja, kept him company on his either sides. As the procession began moving from in front of the century-old Palace, inside the Fort, a 21-gun salute was heralded and the national anthem was struck by the band in attendance, while Chief Minister Mr. S.M.Krishna, scion of Mysore royal family and Lok Sabha Congress member Mr. Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wodeyar and other dignitaries witnessed the colourful pageantry. The Chief Minister worshipped the 'Nandi Dhwaja', the flag of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva, outside the northern wing of the Fort, near the Anjaneya Temple at 3-10 p.m. He drove into the Fort and thirty minutes later the drizzle still continuing. Mr. Krishna offered flower petals to Goddess Chamundeswari from a temporarily built high pedestal and set the procession in motion. While an Air Force helicopter showered flower petals on the elephant, 'Akash Ganga' paratroopers descended in parachutes into the open grounds holding high the Indian tricolour.

The low-budget Dasara consisted a number of attractive items like folk dance troupes, Noupat and Nishan elephants (elephants carrying war drum and signal flags), a dozen decorated elephants including the sacred elephant (Pattada Aane) Gajendra, units of scouts, guides, fire brigade, home guards, national cadet corps, reserve police, armed reserve, cavalry and band units. A new addition was a band unit of the Air Force playing patriotic and heroic songs. The 59 contingent procession reached, the Banni Mantap parade ground, via the Sayaji Rao Road thoroughfare, a distance of over two kms from the Palace, taking over two hours. Except in and around the Palace, there were thinner crowds watching the procession. The torchlight parade and the return procession on the beautifully illuminated Sayaji Rao Road had been suspended this year.

The Chief Minister promised to the Press a grand Dasara next year and preparations for it would begin well ahead. Greeting the people on the occasion, Mr. Krishna pointed out that the grandeur of Dasara this time had to be cut on account of drought, but now happily copious rains had brought relief to the people and farmers.

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