BENGALURU: This year, the world-famous Mysuru Dasara is likely to be an abbreviated, low-sparkle edition, as the Covid pandemic continues to play party-pooper, eight months into 2020. The floods, too, could impact the celebrations. For starters, the grand Jamboo Savari may be dropped, apart from the cultural carnival accompanying it. The Savari, the finale of the Nada Habba, is the procession of elephants from Mysuru Palace to Bannimantap. Other celebrations are also likely to be low-key. A senior IFS officer said, on condition of anonymity, that there is no word yet on the movement of Dasara elephants. Usually, the elephants are picked from various camps and taken to Mysuru to be trained.
“We need at least 70 days for these animals to familiarise themselves with each other. The normal procedure is for the Mysuru DC to write to the forest department for approval. But even today, we have not received any letter from the DC,’’ the officer said. This year, the 10-day celebrations begin in the second week of October and culminate on October 25, Vijayadashmi, the day of the Jamboo Savari. The elephants are diligently trained for the big day, especially the lead elephant which carries the Golden Howdah, made of pure gold and weighing 750kg.
They are also trained to get used to the overwhelming crowds. Every year, 35 lakh to 40 lakh people attend the ten-day festivities, and more than one lakh attend the Dasara procession on the tenth day. It is precisely due to this that the Karnataka government is rethinking the Jamboo Savari. A minister told TNIE that it is not likely to be held this year. “The number of Covid cases is increasing and it is not feasible to hold the Jamboo Savari this year. The performance of folk artistes too may be cancelled,” he said. However, there will be no restrictions on the traditional celebrations by the Wadiyar royal family members.
“Celebrations will be held only within the Palace premises,’’ the minister said. If this happens, it will be only the second time in the over 400- year history of the festival, which started in 1610 in Srirangapatna and later moved to Mysuru. The first was in 1953, when a clash between upper caste and Dalit wrestlers outside the Palace left a few people dead and many injured. The celebrations was cancelled on the inaugural day. When contacted, Mysuru District- in-Charge Minister ST Somashekar said the issue is likely to be discussed during the cabinet meeting on Thursday. “Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is coming to Mysuru on August 21 to offer Bagina to KRS. He will give more details,’’ he added.