Saturday, October 15, 2005
The pictures, not very good I am afraid, are from Google images.
Madikeri Dasara....! Where do I begin to explain its beauty!
Mysore Dasara takes the cake for its historical significance, the royalty involved, the sheer granduer and the kind of marketing that goes into making it world famous. Caprisoned elephants go in procession around the city. The main elephant carries a 750-kg gold throne in which an idol of Goddess Chamundi is placed. In front there are tableaux and artists showcasing folk dances from around the state. I hear it is very beautiful. It is so crowded, impossible to go near and have a look.
Madikeri Dasara is not so. It starts at night and the procession goes on till the next morning. There are ten floats/mantapas/tableaux like in the picture below. The idols are based on mythological stories and incidents. They are made by temples in Madikeri, are heavily lit with special effects and are accompanied by a band playing music and lots of people dancing. Now, to dance in front has been a dream of mine for so long. Ma puts her foot down here as girls dont go dancing like that. :-(
The preparations go on for a couple of months. The Navarathri starts with a lot of enthusiasm in the air. The first picture is that of 'Karagas' , where idols are placed on the shaven head of men and taken around the town. There are only four of these, one each from the four temples of the Shakti Devathes. These men are to be under strict discipline as to their diet and personal hygiene. These Karagas are not to come face to face with each other during teir walk around the town as that would bring bad luck. Also the idol is not placed on the ground anywhere except in the temple.
The procession starts in the late evening. There is an orchestra to entertain the crowds throughout the night. Madikeri Dasara gets lakhs of people every year.
It is our Nadahabba. And what can i say. The entire town is involved in it and that makes it all the more special. For us, it is a celebration of life and the spirit of faith that is embedded by tradition and culture so much a part of India. Though Navarathri is a Hindu festival, Dasara transcends all faiths and is more about faith in humanity.
I say this time and again, that the faith of people in India is amazing. Every year the rain plays spoil-sport on the celebrations. Priests and the devout pray in advance for the rains to stop. Though it rains nevertheless, it did this year too, The sky becomes amazingly clear during the main part of the procession. This may be purely coincidental but we like to believe in the power of collective faith.
This year Dasara was rather special. Two of my good friends from class, Raji and Mahesh had come. Also students from Norway who are in my uni on an exchange programme, were here too. So I had super fun with Marit, Maiken, Ingvild, Kim, Nils and Helge and Mahesh and Raji. Ooh I forget, my cousin Ranju too!
More later on Norway......