21-round gun salute within a minute
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21-round gun salute within a minute

September 27, 2021
  • Cannon firing dry run set in motion
  • Firing drill rehearsal at Palace on Sept. 30

Mysore/Mysuru: Preparing for cannon firing, an integral part of Dasara, personnel drawn from various Police Departments of the city conducted a dry run yesterday at the Mysore Palace premises. 

The dry run is important to ensure that there are no mistakes while firing the cannons on the day of Vijayadashami when VIPs, elephants and guests are present in the galleries.

The tradition of cannon firing — 21-round gun salute — during Dasara was started centuries ago and the Wadiyars have led the rituals and it is a way of conveying respect to the regal lineage. Even after independence and abolition of the Privy Purse, the tradition continued using the same guns that were used for the ceremony for ages. 

 The Wadiyars of Mysore are among the very few royal families of India who get this honour and at present, the 21-round gun salute is given to Goddess Chamundeshwari, the presiding deity of Mysuru whose idol is placed inside the Golden Howdah atop the caparisoned Dasara led elephant during Jumboo Savari. 

On the day of Vijayadashami, cannons are fired 21 times outside the Palace Fort to signal the beginning of Jumboo Savari, which marks the Dasara finale.

As part of the dry run, these cannons are taken out annually for the ritual and a step-by-step practice is followed as per the established tradition where the cannons are first oiled and cleaned for a couple of days. Later, the cannons along with the carts are brought to the open ground for practicing the gunpowder loading and the actual firing process. 

Cannons were paraded and the Policemen refreshed their memories on cleaning the cannons, steps to be followed including the assembling of the cannon and security measures that have to be adopted while filling the gun powder and the process of igniting the fire. 

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Seven cannons were used for practice, mainly to build confidence about the timing and the process of firing. Each cannon will have to fire three rounds. On the Vijayadashami Day, as the National Anthem is played, cannons are fired in the backdrop and the whole process should conclude within 60 seconds.

After the cannon firing drill, all the eight Dasara elephants led by Howdah elephant Abhimanyu were taken near the cannons to familiarise them with the smell. Later, the elephants will be acclimatised with the sound of firing, to avoid any chaos on Jumboo Savari Day if the elephants panic. 

To prevent the jumbos from getting nervous, the rehearsal of cannon gunfire is conducted three to four times in the run-up to the Dasara finale every year. This year, cannon firing practice will take place on Sept. 30 near the Varaha Gate of the Mysore Palace.

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