Mysore Day 2
The 402nd edition of the Mysore Dasara Procession
The ultimate day of the Mysore celebration started slowly. We had a leisurely breakfast and departed the hotel @ 11:30 am for a walk to the palace grounds. We arrived at noon. The streets that were jammed with cars, bicycles, and buses were now jammed with people. Lines of people were waiting for entry to the grounds. Fortunately, the Gold Card allowed us to bypass the lines. The gold card is a 10 day pass allowing the purchasers to have free entry to museums, events, parking and other "discounts". While it is expensive, waiting in long lines is no longer on our agenda. So we bypassed the long lines and walked through a series of crowd control lines which would make Walt Disney or any airport security organization proud.
|Crowds at the entrance gate|
|Last minute instructions from our guide|
Inside the palace grounds, we encountered numerous tableaus (floats in the American idiom). These were massive multi-unit vehicles, equipped with their own power generators. On a side lawn marching and performing units gathered with the rhythmic sound of drums pulsating in the air. Eventually we found the grandstands reserved for the Gold Cards group. There were other areas reserved for VIPs, The Judiciary, RS1000 ticket holders and others we did not see. The event was televised and live steamed on the Internet. The following day's newspaper reported Internet access from over 55 nations. Our observation was that non-Indian nationals made up less than 1% of the crowd.
|Ganesha in a tableau|
|The Karnataka State Temperance Board Tableau|
|A village scene on a tableau|
|You want me to pose?|
|Still More tableaux pictures|
We found seats and the wait began. The event would not begin until a wrestling event was held inside the palace. The Maharajah (former) was the judge. When he determined the winner (after the first blood was drawn) the parade could begin.
|The Grand Stands|
The procession began with the arrival of elephants. From my previous encounters with elephants (viewing in zoos or from the stands at a circus) I was unprepared for the massive size of these elephants. As they strolled by one bull broke loose and began charging forward. Guards, mahouts and other elephants struggled to stop the beast. All this took place in the matter of several seconds. The animal was brought under control and the parade continued unaffected.
|An elephant arrives|
|A man on stilts|
The tableaus depicted scene in Indian life. Religious scenes predominated, but a conscious effort was made to show inclusive scenes of religious life. Single tableaus feature Islamic, Christian and Hindu symbols and buildings. Thirty some tableaus later, some Indian marching bands, performers, people on stilts the elephant appointed to carry the Golden Howath appeared.
|The elephant carrying the Golden Howath arrives.|
This elephant is 52 years old. Over the previous several months he had been trained slowly to carry a 750kg load. The training is necessary because elephant backs are relatively weak. Until 1956 the Golden Howath carried the Maharajah, but with independence it now carries a golden god image. The elephant carrying the Golden Howath accompanied by two smaller elephants set off on their 5 km journey to the parade grounds. As in US parades, the last unit in the parade was a fire engine, only Santa was not on board. The procession took two hours to depart.
We returned to the hotel where we met our guide again. We got dinner (it was jammed) and then drove off to the parade grounds. Heavy traffic was expected, but at the end we were stuck in the car for 1.5 hours. The reason, traffic to the parking lots was directed down the road straight into the traffic that had followed the parade. As we say in Kuala Lumpur, the result was Jam Lah! But the highlight was the confrontation between policemen and a car carrying government officials. We thought fisticuffs might break out.
The evening performance at the parade ground was interesting: police units, and youth groups marched in formation prior to the national anthem. All stood and sang (with about as much audience participation as you would find in the U.S. This was followed by a 30 minute motorcycle performance. A figure 8 formation resulted in a crash. An ambulance was called but the rider was able to walk off. To colorful dance segments followed including a Performance by Russian artists whose performance was augmented by lasers. The finale was a police unit marching holding flaming torches. It ended with the torches spelling out "to protect and serve" and "come back to Dasara 2013".
|A motorcycle acrobat demonstration|
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad