Karnataka

Curtains down on traditional Dasara of Wadiyars

Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar during the Dasara rituals at the Mysuru palace on Friday.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

For the second year in a row, the private Dasara of the Wadiyars remained a low-key affair due to the pandemic and concluded with the Vijayadashmi procession held within the palace premises, here on Friday.

Bringing the curtains down on a hoary tradition being followed by the erstwhile royal family since 1610 CE when Raja Wadiyar ascended the throne at Srirangapatna, this is a practice inherited from the rulers of the Vijayanagar empire who celebrated it on a grand scale.

The religious rites followed by the Wadiyars were conducted over the last 9 days amidst the imperatives of maintaining social distancing and hence was out of bounds for all but those involved in the proceedings and immediate family members.

A battery of priests supervised the rituals performed by Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar following the footsteps of his predecessors to keep alive a cultural practice which has a history of more than 410 years.

The royal elephant (Pattada Aane), the royal horse (Pattada Kudure) and the royal cow (Pattada Hasu) were decorated and taken in a procession to the accompaniment of an ensemble of musicians playing nadaswara. The palace band and the golden palanquin were also part of the procession from the Amba Vilas to the Bhuvaneshwari temple.

One of the key elements of the Wadiyar’s Dasara is the Vajra Mushti Kalaga but it was scrapped for the second year in a row. This is a type of wrestling in which the wrestlers wear knuckledusters with spikes and take a swipe at each other and whoever draws the first blood, is declared the winner. Though this type of wrestling finds a mention in the writings of medieval travellers to Vijayanagar, it has gone extinct and the sport is held to mark a tradition only during Vijayadashmi.

The private procession of the Wadiyars – though entails all regal paraphernalia including the caparisoned elephants and the palace staff in traditional attires – it is a sea-change from the processions that used to take place during the regime of the maharajas.

The maharaja used to sit in the golden howdah carried by the caparisoned elephants and used to be accompanied by the cavalry. The maharaja used to be greeted by the public and receive garlands and other offerings at the designated places and the procession would culminate at Bannimantap where the king would dismount and offer special prayers and conduct ‘shami puja’ as per tradition.

In the present times this is confined to the palace premises and Yaduveer reached the temple in a motorised vehicle and not in the silver cart as used to be the practice. He then completed the rites.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 1:37:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/curtains-down-on-traditional-dasara-of-wadiyars/article37006643.ece

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