Mysuru: The 10-day Dasara festival showcasing the cultural diversity of Mysuru and Karnataka was formally inaugurated atop Chamundi Hill by Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murty this morning. Chanting prayers, philanthropist and writer Sudha Murty showered flower petals on the ‘Utsava Murthy’ of Goddess Chamundeshwari placed in a silver chariot in the Chamundeshwari Temple Complex at 7.30 am in the auspicious Tula Lagna between 7.05 am and 7.30 am.
As it was an early morning inauguration, the entire Temple Complex was covered in mist and cool air accompanied by perfumed pleasant smell of flowers and incense sticks that permeated the atmosphere. The temple too was decorated with a variety of flowers.
Accompanied by her husband N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Mysuru District Minister G.T. Devegowda, Tourism Minister S.R. Mahesh, Kannada and Culture Minister Jayamala and a host of other dignitaries Sudha Murty entered the temple. The Chief Priest of the temple Shashishekar Dikshit, accompanied by other mantra-chanting priests, led the rituals.
Dasara has deep roots in mythology and was celebrated by the rulers of the Vijayanagar Empire (1336 AD to 1646 AD). After Vijayanagar kings, the tradition was continued by the Wadiyars. This is 408th Dasara that was started in the Mysuru region by Raja Wadiyar at Srirangapatna in 1610 and subsequently taken over by democratically elected governments that are continuing the tradition as “Naada Habba”.
Addressing the gathering, Sudha Murty announced that the Infosys Foundation will donate Rs. 25 crore for rehabilitation measures in flood-ravaged Kodagu District.
Congress leaders stay away
Atop the Chamundi Hill this morning, local Congress leaders were conspicuous by their absence. Among the dignitaries who were present during the inauguration were (BJP and JD(S) leaders) Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha, JD(S) State President and Hunsur MLA H. Vishwanath, Chamaraja MLA S.A. Ramdas, T. Narasipur MLA Ashwin Kumar, Periyapatna MLA K. Mahadev, Chamaraja MLA L. Nagendra, MLC K.T. Srikantegowda, Nanjangud MLA Harshavardhan, MLC Appaji Gowda.
Except for Congress leader and Cabinet Minister Jayamala, none of the local Congress leaders, MLAs and MPs were present, raising eyebrows. Backward Classes Minister (Congress) C. Puttaranga Shetty Narasimharaja MLA Tanveer Sait, Varuna MLA Dr. Yathindra Siddharamaiah, District Congress President Dr. B.J. Vijayakumar, City Congress President R. Murthy, Chamarajanagar MP R. Dhruvanarayana stayed away from the inauguration.
It may be recalled here that on Sept. 14, Puttaranga Shetty, who is also a member of the Dasara Executive Committee, staged a walk out from the Committee meeting alleging that the JD(S) was dominating the meeting and Dasara festivities. Even R. Murthy had earlier stated that Congress leaders were being ignored by JD(S) leaders.
Sudha Murty is a symbol of Karnataka
After participating in the Dasara inauguration, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said that he had decided to invite Sudha Murty as she will bring good luck to the entire people of Karnataka. “She is a mother and a symbol of Karnataka represented by love, sacrifice, selflessness. Her pujas to Goddess Chamundeshwari will bring good fortune to the State,” he said.
Appreciating her gesture of donating Rs. 25 crore for Kodagu rehabilitation, Kumaraswamy said that the Infosys Foundation has contributed a lot towards Bengaluru Metro, Cyber Crime Hi-tech unit and has also done many philanthropic works in Mysuru.
Host of events
More than a dozen programmes at various venues will also be inaugurated today including Flower Show, Raitha Dasara, Dasara Sports, Dasara Wrestling, Women’s Dasara, Children’s Dasara, Dasara Exhibition, Food Festival (Aahara Mela), and the electrification. In the evening, the Palace Cultural programmes will be inaugurated by the CM.
The grand finale — the famed Jumboo Savari (Vijayadashami procession) — will begin from the Palace premises on October 19. Its highlight will be the procession of tableaux and folk artistes, and caparisoned elephant Arjuna carrying the Golden Howdah with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari.
This year there will be a special Jumboo rehearsal on Sunday, Oct. 14, complete with elephants, cultural troupes and tableaux. Those troupes and tableaux that miss a chance to perform on the Vijayadashami Day will be given a chance during this rehearsal. However, the Golden Howdah will not be used and instead, the wooden replica of the howdah will be used.