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Karnataka’s cultural capital Mysuru has decked up to celebrate its world-famous 10-day Dasara festival from Sunday with pomp and piety, an official said on Saturday.

“The 10-day Dasara festival begins on Sunday with prayers and offerings to Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari Devi atop the hill on the city’s outskirts in the presence of the chief guest, VIPs, dignitaries and the people,” the official told IANS here.

As chief guest, eminent Kannada litterateur S.L. Bhyarappa will inaugurate the 409th year of the festival celebrations amid chanting of Vedic hymns and devotional music at the royal Amba Palace of the erstwhile Mysuru Wodeyar rulers in the city centre, about 150km southwest of Bengaluru.

State Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, central and state ministers, legislators, religious heads, special invitees and the citizens will participate in the function amid tight security.

A replica of the goddess will be taken astride a decorated elephant in a procession to the royal palace from the Devi temple atop the hill for worshipping and public display.

As the grand festival has historical relevance dating back to the 16th century when the Wodeyar kings used to celebrate it with grandeur, the royal dynasty’s adopted scion and titular head Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja will hold a private audience by ascending the Golden Throne in the Palace durbar hall at the auspicious time the family priests will decide as per the Hindu calendar.

“Yaduveer will hold the khasagi (private) durbar for nine days (navaratri) in line with his Yadu dynasty’s 600-year-old tradition, worship ayudha puja (armoury) and other objects in the Palace and witness the victory parade on Vijayadashmi day,” a Palace official said.

Yaduveer’s wife Trishikha Devi, his step-mother Pramoda Devi, members of the royal family will be present on the occasion.

As the state government is the main organiser and host, Yediyurappa will herald the cultural celebrations and flag off the sporting events that will be held in the sprawling palace vicinity.

Priests from 23 temples in the old Mysuru region will perform Hindu rituals and make offerings to Hindu gods and goddesses during the fest to invoke their blessings on the people for peace, happiness and prosperity.

The festival also marks the celebration of triumph over evil as the presiding goddess is learnt to have killed Hindu demon Mysasura on the auspicious occasion when Hind god Ram returned to Ayodhya from a 14-year exile in Threta Yug.

The city has also been spruced up for the grandeur that will culminate with a victory procession of caparisoned elephants, camels, horses and tableaux from the Palace to the Bannimantapa grounds for a torch-light parade on the 10th of the festival on October 8.

The tabuleaux will showcase the state’s rich cultural folklore and socio-economic development of the state.

As part of Navarathri, cultural and musical programmes will be held over the next nine days outside the Palace and other venues across the city.

Sporting events like wrestling and athletics, film shows, children’s shows, poets’ meet, food fiesta and book expo will be part of the grand festival.

Besides the royal palace, heritage buildings, temples and parks have been illuminated for the mega fest.

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