Mysore’s Rich Culture of Celebrating Dussehra

Mysore takes the coup when it comes to dussehra celebrations in the country. With the rich mythological history and folklore associated with the day, of Lordess Chamundi Devi vanquishing the evil Mahishasura, who ruled over Mysore ruthlessly, the celebrations begin nine days earlier, unlike the rest of the country where dussehra is celebrated for only one day. Let’s see what makes the Mysore celebrations so rich and spectacular, that the place has become synonymous with the celebrations.

Rituals, pooja, royalty, traditions and the use of animals in processions

The celebrations at Mysore have strong religious undertones and dates back to 500 years. The diamond studded throne of the Wadiyar dynasty that ruled the kingdom of Mysore between 1399 and 1950 is thrown out on display to the public.

The elephants and horses undergo training for the grand day. Jumbo sawari, which includes procession of idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari placed on a golden mantapa on the top of a decorated elephant, is the main attraction of the festival. This year, as Arjuna, who carried the 750 kg golden howdah with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari, flanked by elephants Mary and Cauvery at the fag end of the procession, approached the podium, 21 rounds of canon shots were fired even as the police band played the National Anthem and the three elephants raised their trunk in salute.

 Beautifying the place

During the 10 day festivities the normally calm, slow and peaceful city erupts into life and every street and street corner is bustling with activity. Houses, shops, Mysore palace and other important buildings in the city are decorated and illuminated for the period of the celebrations. Nearly Rs. 1 crore every year is spent towards maintenance of its illumination alone and more than 25,000 bulbs are replaced every year just before the Dasara festivities

Mysore palace during dussehra

Mysore palace during dussehra


Individuals decorate their households, light incense sticks and lamps, wear new clothes and women put on jasmine in their hair.

Keeping the public engaged

To entertain the lakhs of tourists who come to attend the festival from all over the world, ctural programmes are organised, together with art and music celebritites being called. Various competitions like sports, wrestling, poet’s meet, food festival, film festival are arranged for the involvement of the public. Various shows including flower shows, dance shows are also held.

 Business and Promotional Spree

Dasara Exhibition is also arranged in the Doddakere Maidana, by the Karnataka Exhibition Authority, where the public and private sector industries, leading business establishments, government departments put up their stalls to promote industrial and corporate business for months. The festival is a fulcrum to promote tourism and generate revenue.

Mysore dussehra is one festival that you should visit atleast once to get the cultural and aesthetic sense of the place and of Indian mythology and to witness the importance that it holds to people till now.