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Mysuru keeps colourful annual Dasara fete short

The first Dasara for tusker Abhimanyu in Mysuru, in the company of ‘Kumki’ elephants Kaveri and Vijaya, was a short affair as he had to traverse just 270 m rather than the usual 5 km.

The 10-day Mysuru Dasara festivities concluded on Monday under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the world famous Jamboo Savari finale being the shortest and the quickest.

The distance of about 270 m was covered in under 30 minutes, with a nominal presence of cultural troupes and tableaux.

In a normal year, the Savari is a big spectacle with multiple cultural events taking over three hours to complete. This year, the celebrations were only aimed at keeping the centuries-old tradition alive. The finale of Vijayadasami was confined to the Amba Vilas Palace.

Of the two tableaux presented, one was a tribute to COVID-19 warriors striving to save people. It showed a health worker wearing a mask and a PPE suit. Only six troupes took part — two groups of nadaswaram artistes, Veeragase Kunita and Chande Mela artistes, stilt walkers and Chilipili Gombe artistes. One stilt walker, as Chamundeshwari, and another as COVID-19 virus, depicted the deity killing the demon with a trishul. The finale, however, exceeded the ceiling of 300 attendees.

Jamboo Savari was limited to the palace in the past too: in 1994 due to the Surat plague and in 2002 due to the severe drought.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa flagged off the Savari, showering flowers on the Chamundeshwari idol in the 750-kg golden howdah on elephant Abhimanyu.

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