Curtains fell on the historic Dasara celebrations in Mysore with Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar showering flower petals on the idol of Goddess Chamundeswari placed in the 750-kg golden howdah on the back of Arjuna this afternoon.
At the palace and at certain points on the procession route, there was chaos and confusion with huge crowds making it difficult for even invited dignitaries to witness the Jamboo Savari.
Even the mahout of Arjuna, who had replaced the aging Balarama for this year’s procession, found it difficult to move him towards the dais where stood the chief minister and three other dignitaries, while security men had to push out those who had crowded at the spot to clear the way for the ‘ambari’-carrying tusker.
Among those present on the specially-erected platform in front of the palace, including Deputy Chief Minister R Ashok, District Incharge Minister S A Ramadas and Mayor Rajeshwari Puttaswamy.
Scion of Mysore royal family Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar was conspicuous by his absence. Besides, none of the Opposition party member was present at the procession. In the earlier Dasara programmes too, they had disassociated themselves from this year’s Dasara celebrations which was solely planned and executed by the district incharge minister. Even most of the BJP legislators and leaders had preferred to stay away.
Earlier, the chief minister inaugurated the procession by worshipping the small image of Nandi in the Nandi Kamba held aloft by its bearers, opposite the Anjaneyaswamy temple at the northern entrance to the palace, before moving into the palace premises to witness the procession.
For those who had witnessed the ealier Dasara celebrations, this year’s procession was disappointing as there were only 4-5 items reflected yesteryear’s royal grandeur, while the rest out of 127 contingents were all tableaux and folk dance troupes.
The cynosure of all eyes was of course gracefully decorated Arjuna carrying the golden howdah. Noupat-Nishan and decorated elephants, elephant carriage with police band unit playing classical Karnatak music, mounted police and guards and English Band unit were the only contingents that brought back memories of the past regal Dasara processions. Rest of about 117 contingents comprised folk dance troupes and tableaux drawn from different districts.
Tableaux, which numbered 36, reflected traditions of Karnataka in different areas like regional Dasara in four districts of Bellary, Mandya, Mysore and Kodagu, festivals in six districts, convention marriages and costumes in five districts, religion and music in five districts, and folk in 10 districts. Four departments and corporations had featured six tableax on tourism, handicrafts, Sakala, Krishnarajasagar and Kabini reservoirs, Swami Vivekananda, Dr B R Ambedkar and evil effects of alochol.
After covering arbout 6 kms, the procession will reach the traditional place of Banni Mantap, where a torch-light parade will bring down the curtain on 402 edition of historic Dasara which saw dismal tourist inflow.