Karnataka

Documenting historical tradition through art

The Dasara paintings are reckoned to be a faithful representation of the events that unfolded in the first half of the 20th century under Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar.

The Dasara paintings are reckoned to be a faithful representation of the events that unfolded in the first half of the 20th century under Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar.  

more-in

The paintings at the Amba Vilas Palace, which capture the imageries of cultural and folk troupes that constitute the Mysuru Dasara and is a must-see among the tourists visiting the city, reflect the cultural practices that are rooted in history.

Though Dasara is a pan-Indian festival, the events that unfold in Mysuru have historical connections. A tradition that received royal patronage under the Vijayanagar rulers, it was inherited by the Wadiyars of Mysuru and became a regular State affair after Raja Wadiyar ascended the throne at Srirangapatna in 1610.

Hence, this is the 409th edition of an unbroken tradition whose roots can be traced back to the Vijayanagar rulers a few centuries earlier.

The 10-day celebrations under the Vijayanagar rulers was documented in the writings of medieval travellers Abdur Razak and Domingo Paes, whose descriptions seem to match the events that unfold in the present times.

Besides, there are detailed accounts in the Mysore Gazetteer edited by historian Hayavadhana Rao and the paintings at the Amba Vilas Palace, which captures the glory of the celebrations under Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. Adding to these descriptions are paintings at the Mysuru palace, which make Dasara among the most documented of the festivals.

Tourists visiting the palace soak in the beauty of these paintings that are reckoned to be a faithful representation of the events that unfolded in the first half of the 20th century under Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar.

These paintings are not only a documentation of a culture but are historically important because they throw light on the salient features of the cityscape, according to historian N.S. Rangaraju, who is the convener of the Mysuru chapter of INTACH.

Executed by palace artists, the Dasara paintings are credited to K. Keshavaiah, S.N. Swamy, Y. Nagaraju, Y. Subramanya Raju, S. Shankar Raju and S.R. Iyengar. Prof. Rangaraju said some of the eminent personalities of the day, including Veene Seshanna, palace musician, and scholar Shamashastry who discovered the extant copy of Kautilya’s Arthashastra are depicted.

Another interesting aspect that is evident from these paintings is that the procession route was along the Ashoka Road and not the Sayyaji Rao Road, said Prof. Rangaraju. The paintings depict the maharaja seated in the golden howdah atop an elephant, which is at variance with the present day practice.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics Karnataka
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 10:06:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/documenting-historical-tradition-through-art/article29611560.ece

Next Story