Special Correspondent

Celebrations well received by local people and tourists

MYSORE: The Dasara celebration was well received by tourists and Mysoreans who soaked in the cultural programmes for 10 days and it was reckoned to be the most memorable in recent years. The highlights included a spectacular finale to the cultural events by “Dream Girl” Hema Malini whose dance ballet Durga was well received by the audience.

A delicate task

Mounting the golden howdah which weighs over 750 kg — of which 80 kg is gold — is a daunting task. Only a trained mahout is capable of handling the task and what is more, it requires a trained elephant to balance it. It takes up to 45 minutes to complete the process, and a manual jack complete with lever and iron ropes are permanently in place as also a metallic hoist which lifts the howdah and gently places it on Balarama’s back.

Once the balance is achieved, the howdah is tethered to the elephant and the stage is set for the Jamboo Savari.

A royal tradition

The scion of the royal family Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar and his wife Pramoda Devi watched the process of mounting the howdah from their residential quarters.

Once complete, Balarama, Revathi and Kanthi swung to their right, moved rapidly towards the royal couple and raised their trunks in salute.

A sea of humanity

It is reckoned that tens of thousands of people witnessed the Jumboo Savari on Sunday.

All roads leading to the palace and the procession route, were packed with people and vantage points occupied.

‘Vajramusthi Kalaga’

A rarity in modern times, “Vajramusthi Kalaga” is a fast dying genre and is held once a year, on Vijayadashmi. Part of the royal Dasara of the Wadiyars, it is held inside the Amba Vilas Palace and the wrestlers fight it out with clinched fists and the bout is not over till the first blood is drawn.

Korean documentary

For a festival reckoned to be international in stature, this year saw a large number of international mediapersons, including a television crew from South Korea. They were documenting Mysore Dasara to produce a documentary on the caparisoned elephants and were camping in the city since the last five days. Their other agenda: another documentary on the Ganga.