Mysore (Karnataka), Oct 14 (IANS) A torch light parade by hundreds of participants, followed by fire works and a laser beam show at the Banni Mantap grounds Monday marked the grand finale of the world famous 10-day Dasara festival in the cultural capital of Karnataka.
The hour-long event followed by cultural fiesta was the culmination of the grand victory procession, led by caparisoned elephants from the Wodeyar's dynasty Ambi Vilas Palace in the city centre to the grounds, five km away, marking the triumph of good over evil on the auspicious Vijaya Dashmi day.
The procession began after a dozen priests performed rituals to goddess Chamundeshwari at the auspicious time (1.12 p.m.-1.40 p.m.) in the presence of Wodeyar scion Srikantadatta and his family.
Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, some of his cabinet colleagues, Wodeyar and royal family members joined thousands of people from across the state and country to witness the spectacle that lit up the sky on a breezy night.
About 100 army personnel also entertained the crowds with motorbike stunts, including acrobatics on the parade grounds.
Before the governor received the guard of honour and flagged off the parade, Wodeyar worshipped the sacred Banni tree at the entrance of the ground, as legend has it that Pandavas had hidden their armoury atop the tree during their year-long exile in disguise before the epic Mahabharata war.
As Dasara is celebrated as the state festival (nada habba) with royal patronage, Siddaramaiah offered floral tributes to the mini idol of Chamundeshwari after it was placed in the 750kg golden throne (howda) atop the caparisoned elephant Arjuna for the 'Jumboo Savari' (procession) through the city's main thoroughfares to the Bani Mantap grounds.
Recreating the grandeur of the past, the mile-long carnival had a dozen decorated jumbos, camels and cavalry on horseback, dance groups, music bands, folklore, followed by 42 colourful tableau depicting the various facets of the state, its culture and traditions.
Tens of thousands of people lined up on both sides of the route from the palace to the grounds to witness the spectacle.
"The Dasara fest is special this year as it is being held after rain gods blessed the state with bountiful rains during the monsoon to ensure a bumper harvest to farmers and prosperity to the 60 million people of Karnataka," Siddaramaiah told reporters on the occasion.
The royal family and their decked up palaces were the star attraction for the pomp and pageantry on display in the grand procession.
About 1,000 foreign tourists also flocked to the city of palaces to witness the grand procession and the torch light parade.
Security was stepped across the city to ensure peaceful celebrations, with about 6,000 police personnel deployed on the procession route and closed circuit television (cctv) cameras installed at intersections to maintain vigil.
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flew over the city to monitor the procession in real time.