Nadahabba – Mysore Dasara

This blog and the location hardly needs any introduction. Not just in South India or India, but across the world people are aware of this mega event that happens every year. Dasara is synonymous with grandeur and rich cultural heritage that existed in Mysore. The renowned and famous jumbo, Balarama comes to your eyes when we speak of the glittering golden howdah. For me this is probably the Indian version of Brazilian carnival, minus the samba girls! For one full week every vehicle and every official in the city of Mysore is busy working for the event. This is probably the best time for our government officials and also the police department to shed some weight! The whole of Mysore city which is pensioner’s paradise is usually dead by 7 PM but for the Dasara it accommodates few more hours of nightlife. I wonder how people of my age or even the teenagers spend their time! No offence, but my experience with Mysore dates back to 2009, when I had to stay for one week during my SSB (Service Selection Board) interview. And then two more visits in 2010 and things had hardly changed. I wish Mysore celebrates Dasara everyday…

For me this was first time and being a Bangalorean, I could never visit this colorful event till now. Thanks to my travel bug which left a sting in my back and also the hangover of Leh ride I was able to decide upon this ride. As always I informed my friends and colleagues about the plan to check out if anybody would join me. To my disappointment (routine) I had to plan for a solo ride! Maybe the travel bug left a deep sting of RE in me after Leh Ride, which refused to go. And this made me to request my friends to lend their RE bikes. But most of them had reasons (understandable)…

Then I had MH700 aka Mihir Kulkarni ready for me. Mihir Kulkarni had just then fitted K&N filter to his Apache RTR bike and badly wanted to check its performance. Poor chap, he couldn’t get the approval from BOSS (MOM) and that meant I could take his bike for this event. He handed the key and asked me to check its performance, mileage, and I was happy to do the needful. There is a constant and never-ending debate about the performance filters which refuses to die and I shall not continue that now! Maybe MH700 is the best person to discuss…

I left early in the morning to avoid the traffic on busy Bangalore-Mysore highway. I feel the word highway is misnomer and this can as well be omitted. If you remember my previous blog, 150 vs. 350 – David & Goliath I have mentioned about the Bidadi thatte idli. This was no different and I pulled over for the breakfast at one of the famous thatte idli outlet. Once I tanked up my tummy, there was no stopping till the Columbia hospital which I covered in 2 hours. On my way, I loved every bit of attention that I got and that is because of the K&N filter.

K&N Filter
K&N Filter

20141003_103752

My stay in Mysore was at Manjesh’s apartment which is on the ring road and just few kilometers from the palace. Thanks to Manjesh, I was able to attend the Mysore Dasara with comfort and ease. He took care of the accommodation and also my ticket booking for the Dasara event. He is basically an IT engineer working for Infosys and an amazing photographer. I know him from my college days and this chap badly wanted a long bike trip something similar to my Leh Ride, thanks to his IT life. I explained him about my Bhutan Ride and how he could join me along with Girish. And I am happy to say that he did come and enjoy the whole Bhutan ride. Now we both await our next major expedition which is, Dubai? Nepal? Or Sri Lanka? Don’t know!

The day I reached Mysore, there was rehearsal of torch parade at the Bannimantap grounds. Every year the rehearsal is free for public viewing but this time the police authorities refused to do so. The localite were angry at the police and their behavior. Buses were stopped and the roads were blocked by the localite.

Raasta Roko by localite
Raasta Roko by localite

Finally the police had to give in to the public demand and we were allowed in much to our delight. What was in store is something spectacular and mesmerizing. The bike stunts by Indian Army’s Shwet Ashwa on Royal Enfield was spell bound and the horse riding too caught our imagination. The best was in store and it was reserved for the last – torch parade. The view is worth million dollar and the guys doing it are one hell of a brave hearts. Manjesh had got his Canon D600 and two lenses which were used to the last line of battery. Some of the amazing pics were clicked by Manjesh. For a moment I had decided to take DSLR but thanks to my travel bug which insisted me to go for Bhutan Ride.

Scary Doll
Best Click

Bannimantap Parade Ground
Bannimantap Parade Ground
Shwet Ashwa - Amazing Performance
Shwet Ashwa – Amazing Performance
Shwet Ashwa
Shwet Ashwa
Torch Parade - The best Act of the Day
Torch Parade – The best Act of the Day
Torch Parade - A Sight to Behold
Torch Parade – A Sight to Behold

The closing act was like icing on the cake. The fireworks in the sky kept all our necks glued to the skies….

Closing Act - Fireworks
Closing Act – Fireworks

Next day was a big one and I was eagerly waiting to see the cultural display. All these events I had seen on television for past few years and had read about Balarama, the elephant carrying golden howdah. We left early in the morning and even after having arrived 2 hours early, we had to wait in the queue for quite some time. Our tickets ensured that we got front row seats and a good view of the parade.

Mysore Dasara Ticket
Mysore Dasara Ticket
Arjuna - Dasara Elephant
Arjuna – Dasara Elephant
Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace
All set!
All set!

Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr. Siddaramaiah arrived in open top jeep waving at the audience. This meant the start of parade was not too far. The royal family of Wadiyar and the CM performed the pooja for goddess Chamundi. Once done, the gunshots were fired and the parade started. There were roughly 26-30 tableaux which were ready to roll out for showcasing our cultural heritage and diversity. It is hard to pick one and call it as the ‘best’. I could have never done that job if given the opportunity to be on the jury panel. Kashmir – Kanyakumari, the cultural diversity of India was at display and there was something from my native also. The Raichur thermal power plant was also rolled out and I was delighted to see. This was definitely a paradise for the photographers and I could see numerous DSLRs around me. They might as well have outnumbered our police guns…

Chief Minister of Karnataka State - Mr. Siddaramaiah
Chief Minister of Karnataka State – Mr. Siddaramaiah
Jumbo
Jumbo

Colorful..
Colorful..
Colorful..
Colorful..
Come On...Bring it On
Come On…Bring it On
Jai Hanuman!
Jai Hanuman!

Raichur Thermal Power Plant
Raichur Thermal Power Plant
Scary...
Scary…

The parade was a good two hour showcase and it continued till Banni Mantap. It was like the Indian version of Brazilian carnival, minus the samba girls. We left from there and headed to our room for some rest. On my way back, the bike’s gear lever gave off. The locking nut had worn out and the lever came out. Mihir had warned me about this because of the previous such incident with him. Luckily at some distance I found a garage where I got it fixed along with few other minor issues. As the mechanic continued to fix the bike, I could see few girls standing there and smoking. Few also walked up to a small pan shop and asked for flavored cigars! This was a new info and lesson for me – flavored cigars! I wasn’t shocked but the mechanic said, ‘kya ladkiyan hai sir ye? Mysore ko bigad diya hai’…. I just left one stream of air from my nose and uttered to myself ‘welcome to IT world.

The same day we came back for some pictures of Palace which was lit with 1xxxxx light bulbs (sorry, I am not sure of the number of bulbs). The view of palace fully lit with light is a delight to eyes.

Mysore Palace fully lit
Mysore Palace fully lit

Manjesh & Me
Manjesh & Me

From there I headed straight to Manjesh’s apartment and was off to bed in no time. Next day early morning around 06:00 I bid adieu to Manjesh. And on the other hand, Manjesh just said ‘Bhutan plan, okay? The onward ride was 2 hours and I said to myself, ‘how much this time’? I just made one stop at Maddur for breakfast and also to relieve myself! Around 08:00 I reached Bangalore and was happy to maintain the same time.

Thanks to Mihir and Manjesh, I was able to see Namma Nadahabba aka Mysore Dasara finally!

NOTE: I never went astray or crazy with bike. Only when I had ‘line of sight’ I used to rip and then slow down when vehicles approached. Bangalore-Mysore road is a busy highway with too many vehicles and people crossing at their will. Be careful while riding…

You can check the official website of Mysore Dasara for more information here.  

Check out all the videos of Mysore Dasara here.

Odometer
Odometer
Route Map
Route Map
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