Over five lakh people witnessed the spectacular Dasara procession, the grand finale to the ten-day festivities here.
Eager crowds had lined up along the five km procession route six to seven hours before the procession started from the imposing palace premises.
After performing puja of the 18-feet tall ‘Nandikamba’ by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa at the palace, the richly caparisoned elephant Balarama carrying the 750 kg golden ’howdah’, was brought close to the dais to shower rose and jasmine petals on the idol of Sri Chamundeswari, marking the beginning of the procession.
The scion of the Mysore Royal family, Srikantadatta Narashimharaja Wodeyar also offered puja.
Tableaux, folk dancers, drummers, armed police, mounted police and police band added colour to the procession.
The cynosure of all eyes was the 51-year-old pachyderm which had the honour of carrying the golden ‘howda’ for the 11th successive year. The sight of Balarama, flanked by two female elephants, Sarala and Mary, was greeted with loud applause by the crowd.
Balarama was decked up since morning with herb based paints and polished jewels.
Police and the administration had made elaborate arrangements all along the route to prevent an untoward incident.