"Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa flagged off the 409th royal procession of the caparisoned elephants called 'jamboo savari' at the gates of Amba Vilas Palace in the city centre to celebrate Vijayadashmi day with pomp and pageantry," an official said.
Lakhs of people from across the country and overseas witnessed the spectacle of the mile-long procession, comprising about 20 elephants, a dozen horse-drawn carriages, cultural troupes, folk artistes and 36 tableaux passing through the city's 5-km main thoroughfare and reaching Bannimantap grounds after sunset for a torchlight parade by the palace guards, horsemen and state police men on horses.
Amid chanting of Vedic hymns and traditional music, Yediyurappa offered flowers and prayed to Hind goddess Chamundeshwari Devi's replica astride a 750kg golden throne (howda) atop the caparisoned elephant Aruju in the presence of Mysuru's titular Maharaja Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodiyar as the chief guest at the auspicious 4.45 p.m, (Kumbha Lagna), as per the Hindu calendar.
In line with tradition, cultural spirit and religious fervour of the region's erstwhile princely rulers since the 17th century, Arjuna was flanked by two jumbos as 'Nishane' and 'Noupath'.
According to a legend, the goddess slew demon Maisasura and freed the people from his tyranny. A temple dedicated to her is atop the Chamundi hill on the city's outskirts.
With bountiful rains blessing the state after a severe drought last year, thousands of rural folks, including farmers and their families have thronged the city to celebrate the religious event and part-take in its cultural fiesta.
The three-hour long parade culminated in the night with a torchlight parade and fireworks in the sprawling Bannimantap ground where Governor Vajubhai Vala, celebrities and special invitees were present amid tight security.
Elaborate security arrangements were made across the city to ensure peaceful celebrations and prevent any untoward incident.
The tableaux showcase the state's cultural diversity, its flora and fauna, life of its rural folk, artisans and tribes and welfare schemes of the state government and activities of its various departments.