A magnificent cultural extravaganza unfolded at the Mysore Palace here on Monday signalling the culmination of the 10-day Dasara festivities as the lead elephant, Arjuna, carried the golden howdah with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari as part of the Jamboo Savari to the amazement of the crowd on its way to Bannimantap.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who arrived by a KSRTC bus, accompanied by district in-charge Minister V. Srinivas Prasad and other Cabinet colleagues, offered puja to the Nandi Dhwaja at 1.20 p.m. near the Sri Kote Anjaneya Swamy temple to signal the formal beginning of the Jamboo Savari. The caparisoned Naupat-elephant Gajendra and Nishane-elephant Balarama, joined by pachyderms Gopi, Prashanta,Vikrama, Harsha, Vijaya and Srirama, marched in tandem as onlookers, who included a number of foreigners, cheered them till they exited the palace gates.

A nonchalant Arjuna flanked by Varalakshmi and Sarala, marched on majestically, immediately after the 21-round cannon salute.

Puja

Mr. Siddaramaiah, Mayor N.M. Rajeshwari and others showered flowers on the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari in the golden howdah as Arjuna and company commenced the march from the precincts of the palace at 4 p.m. to bring the festivities to an end this year. The large crowd relished the moments and cheered the cultural tropes. Dasara marks a highpoint in Mysore’s cultural history even as the heritage buildings, monuments, temples, mosques and churches add to its glorious past.

The procession was a gala mix of tableaux accompanied by cultural troupes heralding the cultural diversity of the State.

Russian artistes under the banner of Brahma Kumari ashram from St. Petersburg, those depicting the royal families from Vijayanagar in Bellary where the Dasara festivities have their roots, Wadiyars of Mysore, Kempe Gowda of Bangalore and the Darbar of Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur showcased their skill in front of an appreciative crowd which savoured the beauty of it all.

Some of the cultural troupes were stead-walking by a man dressed as Veerabhadra, Beesukamsale, Jaggalagi Mela, dummy dancers, Koragara Nritya, Donne Varase, Dollu Kunita comprising women participants, Lambani Nritya, Karadi Majalu and Chitaki Bhajan depicting sequences from the epic Ramayana.

Earlier in the day, the scion of the Mysore royal family, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, performed puja to the Banni tree on the premises of Sri Bhuvaneshwari temple inside the palace as is the custom.

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