Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mysore Ahoy for Dasara 2010!

Happened to be in Bengaluru just prior to the 400th anniversary of the Mysore Dasara 2010 celebrations, hence decided to drive down to Mysore which is just about 3hrs away. My in-laws in Bengaluru were instrumental in managing to book a room for us in a lodge at Mysore, a feat in itself due to acute shortage of room availability during the festivities. The drive out of Bengaluru was amazing! Bengaluru looked like a banana plantation. They have a tradition of tying banana plants on all vehicles for Dasara! Even two wheelers had two banana plants tied on either side! All along the streets there were banana plants on sale! We set out leisurely at 10.30am and since it was a short drive, decided to visit a couple of places on the way. The first stop was Nimishamba temple, just before Ranganthitu bird sanctuary. The location of this temple and its environs are beautiful. There is a river that flows by and coracles in which you can take a ride or maybe just go for a dip, apart from paying your respects to the Goddess Nimishamba. Garlands of lemon are offered for worship along with coconuts, bananas and flowers to the Goddess. Some fresh fruits and vegetables also on sale. Then as the sky darkened, we moved on to the Ranganthittu Bird Park. If you wish to take a boat ride, remember to purchase the ticket at the entrance where you purchase your entrance tickets to avoid disappointment as no tickets are sold for boating once you enter the park. It is indeed a beautiful place. We walked around for a while and hurried back to our car as the rain Gods decided to cool the ambiance with a vengeance. It was around 5pm when we reached ‘MTR Deluxe lodge’ in the heart of Mysore, just behind the State Transport Bus Terminus. The rooms were small but clean and comfortable for the price (900/- for a double room + taxes) which was supposedly hiked due to the festival. After freshening up, decided to walk towards the palace and soak in the atmosphere.
The Town Hall
The whole city was lit up and there were people of all shapes, sizes and colours jostling around. The policemen managing the crowds were a polite lot and very patiently answered all our queries about the festival without once losing their cool. After walking around the palace we were hungry and visited Dasaprakash Hotel – one of the oldest in Mysore for a nice simple south Indian Thali dinner. Next morning was the day of the famous Parade wherein there would be elephants and floats going past from the Palace to ‘Banimantap Grounds’ about 5 kilometres away. We could have purchased tickets to sit on chairs outside the Palace but decided against it would tie us down to one place for the entire performance. Moreover we would have had to occupy the ringside seats a few hours earlier than the start of the Parade. We thought of catching up on some sight seeing of Mysore in the morning as the Parade was scheduled to star at 2pm. So off we went after a hearty breakfast of Aloo parathas with Pudina chutney and pickles in Purohit restaurant that was just below our lodge. Yes, no idli dosas! Not even filter kapi! Did not miss it much though as the parathas were delicious and the tea was refreshing. We had had enough of idli dosas for the past one week so this was a welcome change.
People lounging on the lawns waiting for the movie show time
We first went to the palace to see it in daylight and then walked along the route of the Parade to see that people had already booked their positions and made themselves comfortable!
Street shows Guns and prayers! Hospital Florist Masjid-e-Azam State Bank of Mysore Post Office Jamia Masjid Handicraft museum St.Philomena's Church
Returned back to the restaurant and had a North Indian Thali for lunch and rested for a while in the room and set out to catch the excitement building up for the Parade. People had occupied all possible vantage points including trees!
The excitement was palpable as the leading elephant appeared all decked up followed by a few more which were then followed by floats representing different cultures. We were people watching and after awhile got back to our room and watched part of the parade ‘live’ on the television  while getting ready to return to Bangalore. Was fun being there. An event to remember!


  1. Oh I was reminded of my stay in Mysore for 5 years during 1977 to 1982. Best part of Mysore Dassera during our stay was the Music /Dance concerts in Darbar Hall [No Entry Fee] from 7pm to 11pm everyday for the first nine days.
    We could participate and appreciate all the top rankers in Vocal / Instrument of Karnatak and Hindustani Sangeet, Dance of all forms. Oh, those were the days.

  2. How could anyone have enough of Idli and Dosai's? It is the one food I really miss while being stuck here in the UK! I absolutely love the pics of Mysore, especially the skyshot of the clouds!

    Had a little read up on the Mysore Dasara, and it looks like a fantastic festival - your photos of the city look brilliant. And, you were right - Rs900 is a bargain price for the rooms - you really owe your in-laws a favour ;)

  3. wonderful tour of the city! The pics amply capture the magic of the festivities. I had been to Mysore once in the late 70s during Dussera. It had been every bit what you have described. We had a toddler with us, but still enjoyed all the sights and sounds.

  4. I love traveling with you! Fantastic post - thanks:)

  5. Awesome post ,brilliant pictures ! I loved temple pictures ..nimbu mala is unique .Nice to see the way they decorate their vehicles with flowers and banana tree.Paratha and North Indian thali ...wah !
    Thanks for sharing this great post - parade pictures are too good.

  6. i would love to see this because mysore is my best place to be when i come to india

  7. What a great post! Loved every image.

  8. Thanks for the Mysore virtual tour. Even the vehicles were decked up for Dussera - wow.

    Loved the vibrant colours.

  9. wow India looks like a beautiful place to be very colorful.. and dimensional