Dasara Celebrations in Karnataka have continued since the 15th Century. The Wodeyar dynasty, which ruled Mysore, placed great significance in the pomp & festivities associated with this festival. For a period of 10 days, Dasara celebrations include worshipping the various forms of the goddess Shakti, in the form of Saraswathi, Laxmi and Durga .
Dasara is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Goddess Chamundeeswari, another form of Durga. Goddess Durga, slew the demon Mahishasura on the 10th day of the battle. This day is also known as Vijayadashami ( victory of good over evil) Day.
The erstwhile royalty worshipped the goddess Chamudeswari on this occasion. This custom continues until today. The idol of the Goddess is taken in a grand and ornate procession around the city. The goddess is seated on top of a decorated elephant. A herd of elephants lead the procession, together with various dancers. Dasara is a State festival in Karnataka, also known as Nadahabba. The city of Mysore comes alive during the Dasara celebrations. A grand exhibition is organized in the Doddakere Maidana. Public participation is very high.
The Mysore Palace and the Chamundi hills close to Mysore ,are two other places that are worth a visit. The Palace is illuminated during this time and is an awe inspiring spectacle to behold.
Tourists can stay at the opulent Lalit Mahal Palace now converted to a luxury resort The resort, a gleaming white structure, was once the palace of the Maharaja.
There are spacious well maintained lawns surrounding the palace and the main building is on a raised ground with checkered marble floors and a beautiful dome. The lobby boasts of a huge wood carved elephant which is a specialty of Mysore. In addition, there is a spectacular chandelier.
Numerous masterpieces and works of art from the Raj era adorn the walls of the resort. There are also the portraits of the kings and queens of the royal family. The exquisite furniture in the main hall is very well maintained. The grand terrace on the first floor over-looking the front of the palace has a lovely view of the city of Mysore .One can also take a ride on the horse-drawn vintage silver carriage, which takes guests around the palace .
Chamundi Hills, which is close to Mysore, is also well worth a visit. One gets a bird’s eye view of the city of Mysore from the summit of the hill.It also houses the famous Chamunda Devi temple. It is a pleasant half day excursion from Mysore .
One other tourist attraction in Mysore is the magnificent Vrindavan Gardens. It is a huge, terraced garden with a great variety of flora & fauna .A sound and light show is conducted in the evenings here at the resplendent musical fountain.
Shopping in Mysore is similar to Bangalore shopping. Mysore is famous for its carved sandalwood, inlay work, silk saris, hand-made incense and wooden toys. The best place to check out the whole range is at the Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium on Sayaji Road. They also have a Bangalore store with the same name. There are other souvenir and handicraft shops, mainly along the Dhanvantari Road and also in the precincts of the Jaganmohan Palace.
Mysore silk sarees are quite famous and you will find silk saree shops on Devaraj Urs Road. The material is soft and of a superior quality; silk saris with fine zari-work are a speciality here.
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