The victory of good over evil and the culmination of the nine-day festival of Navratri is what the festival of Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is about. Burning effigies of Ravan, processions and sweet treats characterise the festival. However, Dussehra has different avatars in different regions across India.
One of the most prominent attractions of the festival is in Mysore - the Mysore Dussehra Procession. The event attracts national and international tourists to the city and is quite an elaborate affair. Elephants decorated in finery, the Mysore Palace decked up and showcased in all its glory are some highlights of the event. The procession is called a Jumbo Sawari and starts from the Mysore Palace and ends at the Banni Mantap.
However, Dussehra festivities in Mysore are not limited to a single day. Throughout nine days preceding the festival, from October 16 to 24 this year, Mysore will turn into a cultural hotspot with musical and dance performances as well as competitive events organised across venues in the city. Some of the important elements of the event are the Yuva Dussehra, Food Dussehra, Manoranjan Dussehra and cultural programmes organised at the Mysore Palace. Also, shopping exhibitions, especially the one organised at the grounds opposite the Mysore Palace is a huge crowd puller. All the festivities end with the Torch Light Parade.
Although season passes are issued for locals and tourists to enjoy the festival throughout the ten days, tourists can also head to the city on the tenth day i.e. Dussehra to view the procession. However, since tourists throng the city during this time, it is advisable to reach Mysore a few days before the event and also book hotels in advance.
Tickets for the Dussehra Procession, Torch Light Parade and for entry and exit into various venues can be bought online or at different points in the city including the Mysore Palace, Mysore Urban Development Authority Office and at Chamundi Temple among others.
Another option for tourists is to visit the Kanaka Durga Devi Temple in Vijaywada during Dussehra. Special pujas and religious ceremonies are held at the temple during the festival. Pilgrims can attend the special Saraswati puja that is done during this time.