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Mysore Dasara 2009
 
 
 
History of Dasara
The vastly celebrated festival known as Dasara in the south and Dussehra in the north, east and western part of India, falls on the tenth day of the bright half (waxing moon) of the Hindu month of Aswiyuja. The mode and the fervor vary by a great deal across India. The festivities last for 10 days and mark the culmination of the festival. It is also referred to as Navaratri. Basically, the legend, as it is in the case of most of the festivals, comprises the victory of Good over Evil. It is also regarded as an auspicious occasion to start new ventures in any field.

The Dasara festivities were first started by the Vijayanagar Kings in 15th Century. After the fall of Vijayanagar Kingdom, The Wodeyar's of Mysore continued the Dasara Festival by, Raja Wodeyar I (1578-1617 CE) in the year 1610. The Navaratri festivities, continued uninterrupted even between 1761 and 1799, when Hyder Ali and later Tippu Sultan ruled Mysore. When the kingdom was handed over by the British to Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1799, the capital was shifted to Mysore and Navaratri was celebrated with even greater magnificence.

The festival of Navaratri comes to a close with Vijayadasami. It is in celebration of the victory of Goddess Chamundeshwari, also known as Mahishasura Mardini, who defeated the demon Mahishasura. This event is believed to have taken place close to what is known as the city of Mysore in the Karnataka state.

However, in Northern India, the same 10-day festival is in celebration of the victory of Lord Rama, prince of Ayodhya over Ravana, the king of Lanka. Ravana abducted Sita, wife of Rama and held her captive in Lanka. Lord Rama, with the help of Hanuman, Sugreeva, the monkey king of Kishkindha, builds a bridge over the sea and travels to Lanka and kills Ravana in the ensuing battle and takes Sita back with him.

On Vijayadasami day, as it is considered to be the most auspicious day. People worship their weapons, machines, motors and tools that people use to carry out their respective trades and occupations are worshipped as they provide livelihood and bring prosperity to people and society. Vehicles are decorated colorfully on that day and people wear new clothes and exchange greetings. It is also the time to exchange gifts. Companies and businesses declare bonus to their employees during Dasara.
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