It is that time of the year when the fervour of Dasara is upon us and there is celebration all around. From museum visits and gollu hopping to Navratri feasting and bombe shopping, there is a lot to look forward to during Dasara in Karnataka. However, no celebration of Dasara is complete without the mention of the magnificent festivities in the cultural capital of the state, Mysore aka Mysuru. Known as Nadda Habba, Dasara in Mysore is intrinsically associated with the royal family and is a spectacle quite like none other.
Celebrated since the last 413 years (it was first observed in 1610), Dasara in Mysore is the epitome of resplendence and grandeur. And to commemorate this majestic celebration, an exhition of the Royal Dasara is being organized in the The Indian Institute of World Culture (IIWC) in Basavanagudi. The event is a collaboration between the Maharaja Shri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Foundation, Maya Films and Heritage Basavanagudi Residents Welfare Forum and is on till 25-Oct. The exhibition was inaugurated by the daughters of HH Shri. Jaya Chamarajendra Wadiyar, Kamakshi Devi and Indrakshi Devi, on 15-October.
The highlight of the exhibition is the display of some very rare and insightful photographs that capture the spirit of Dasara since the 1930s. Most of the pictures have been captured by famous Mysuru photographer K V Subba Rao. From capturing the lights of the Amba Vilas Palace during the 1950s to the application of lamp black on state elephant Irawatha and a picture of the famous Dasara procession in 1939, the display is as enlightening as engaging.
The king performing Gajendara puja to the state elephant during Ayudha pooja as well as a rare picture of HH Shri. Jaya Chamarajendra Wadiyar being carried in an open silver palanquin are noteworthy.
There are some extremely well captured coloured pictures as well including that of the Golden Throne in the Durbar Hall of the Mysore Palace as well as the beautifully decorated Ambari elephant, Biligiriranga arriving to carry HH Shri. Jaya Chamarajendra Wadiyar.
In fact, this picture of Ambari elephant, Biligiriranga has appeared in the 1958 issue of the National Geographic magazine.
Gombe aka Doll Display
The exhibition also has doll displays which is the private collection of residents in and around Basavanagudi. The collection is well curated and showcases the culture of Bombe/Gombe habba for the current and future generations. The dolls are well preserved and gives a peek into the authentically crafted wooden dolls of the yesteryears.
One section of the doll display has been set up per the “Gadegalu” (proverbs in Kannada) theme. This part of the display is truly engaging as the audience has to guess the proverb according to the individual doll set ups. Proverbs like “One kannage benne one kannage sunna” (a proverb that denotes partiality), “Maduve madu nodu, mane katti nodu” etc are depicted wonderfully.
Exquisite hand made soap sculptures by self taught artist Late N S Seshadri is also on display.
The exhibition is on till 25-Oct and concludes with a closing ceremony that includes celebrating the work of veteran photographer Shri Subba Rao and the screening of an episode of “Dasara Soliloquies” by Maya Films, narrated by Varchusvin S S Raje Urs. grandson of HH Shri. Jaya Chamarajendra Wadiyar.