Saturday, October 15, 2005

Experiencing the Mysore Dasara

The word Dasara had always triggered off faint memories of when I had seen it last. I was about 7. Having to look up at the whole world is a very funny feeling. It's somewhat like being a fish inside a pond, and people peer down at you, smiling at your innocent questions.

"Who is that man in all that colorful gear?. Is he going to eat me?"
"Why are there so many people here? Are we expecting a circus?"
"Why is this palace so bright? Can we meet the king inside?"

The memories of the smells and sounds though fleeting, were certainly indelible. This time around Dasara was something I had to re-visit. I had to get to my past, and capture what all I had really seen.

Sharan, my cousin and I left for Mysore left with just 30 minutes of planning. Armed with a camera and camcorder, we tucked into the Chamundi Express. The 6 am air stinged our nostrils.
Mysore has traditionally been the host for Karnataka's cultural extravaganza Dasara. Dubbed the State Festival or NaaDa Habba, the Dasara showcases the plethora of cultural talents that Karnataka has been so well known for. Dance forms, fine art, theatre, and music had filled the atmosphere for the past ten days.

This day, the 13th of October was the grand finale,the Vijayadashami, literally signifying the 10th victorious day of good over evil.

The Grand procession had started at 12:30 from the Mysore Palace in the heart of the city. Leading the 4 kilometre march upto Banni Mantap were the hundreds of troupes of dancers and performers showing off their unique showmanship.

The favourite dance form of the masses, the Dollu Kunita, kept the people on their feet. The booming drums, the blaring whistles all coaxed even the most shy people into shaking a leg. Vividly decorated tableaus followed each other down the wide Sayyaji Rao Road. Each tableaux had a different story to tell. While one wooed the adults not to fall prey to the lures of drinking and child employment, many others sought to highlight the progress the state had made in education, and infrastructure. The best is always at the last. The State guardsmen, in all their livery rode the finest horses, ushering the elephants. 6 caparisoned elephants bejeweled with stunning palace gold made way for the final tusker, the Balarama.

He had had the prestige of carrying the solid gold palanquin with the idol of Goddess Chamundi riding proudly in it. The very promise of the sight of the idol was what had driven the whole city into a 10 day frenzy.

People bowed with both arms clasped together to their favourite Goddess, and prayed for everyone's welfare.

Towards night fall, we hurried towards the Palace again to catch its other face. The luminous one.

At exactly 7:00 p.m., the entire panorama around the palace grounds lit up in one go. 50,000 light bulbs carved out the magnificient structure against the dark blue sky.

The grounds were packed with families who had got more than they had expected from this annual celebration of victory, joy, and life itself.


Melanie Alamo said...

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Hawk said...

Nice one ...
You should try making documentaries...