Lonely Planet

Mysore Dasara

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A city steeped in history and royalty, Mysore is also known for its Dasara festivities.

The Dasara festivities have religious significance and in fact the name of the city has its origins in Hindu Mythology and a story that is inextricably linked to the festival. Mysore is home to the famed Chamundi Hills that has a temple dedicated to Goddess Chamundeshwari (or Durga), patronized by the royal family. It is said that the Goddess battled for nine days with a demon Mahishasura and killed him on the tenth day which is celebrated as Vijaya Dashmi. The name Mysore is believed to have originated from Mahisur that later changed to Mysore or Mysuru as the city is now known. The Dasara festivities are a celebration of good over evil and the oldest evidence of the festivities go back to a Persian ambassador’s book written in the 14th century.

The interior of the Mysore Palace
The interior of the Mysore Palace

The main elephant is entrusted with carrying a 750 kg golden howdah with the golden idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari placed inside. The elephants are especially trained for this procession and an elephant named Abhimanyu has been given the responsibility of carrying the howdah in the procession.

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