A royal tradition continues

Caparisoned elephants taking part in the private Dasara of the Wadiyars in Mysuru on Wednesday.

Caparisoned elephants taking part in the private Dasara of the Wadiyars in Mysuru on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

Elaborate rituals go on for hours inside Amba Vilas Palace

Far from the spotlight and the noise and din of the ongoing Nada Habba, a slice of the traditional and religious rites unfolds within the palace premises, intrinsic to the Dasara of the Wadiyars of Mysuru.

The customary rituals propitiating the family deity and goddess Chamundeshwari are performed by the titular king Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar under the supervision of a battery of priests. These rites take place within the Amba Vilas Palace and last a few hours after which is the khas durbar witnessed by select invitees.

Sources in the palace say there is no deviation in the observance of the rituals which have been systematised centuries ago.

As part of these traditions, caparisoned elephants carry the palace insignia - along with camels, ‘pattada hasu’ or the royal cows, ‘pattada kudare’ or the royal horse - in a procession from Amba Vilas to the Kodi Someshwara Temple at the far end of the courtyard every day.

The temple priests offer special prayers to the elephants and the cows while members of the Urs family pray for their collective well-being while seeking blessings. These rites are conducted twice a day.

An ensemble of musicians who are part of the procession play classical and devotional numbers in the background. Raju Jetty, one of the palace officials who leads the procession daily during the rituals, said a few more elephants will be part of the grand finale to be held on October 8 and will precede the famed Jamboo Savari.

Domingo Paes, a traveller from Portugal who visited Vijayanagar empire sometime in the 16th century A.D., gives a detailed account of the rituals followed by the king and observes the involvement of the caparisoned elephants, cows and horses along with the palace retinue during the ‘great feast’ while referring to Dasara.

The writings of the 16th century compared with the descriptions of Dasara in the Mysore Gazetteer edited by Hayavadhana Rao in the early 20th century indicate that the Navaratri celebrations inherited by the Wadiyars, follow a template that has more or less remained unchanged despite the passage of more than 4 centuries.

Though some of these traditions unfold far from the media glare they add a different hue to Mysuru Dasara.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 8:05:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/a-royal-tradition-continues/article29577459.ece

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