Watches Vajra Mushti to signal auspicious Vijayadashami

Mysore, Oct. 18 (JP&MSA)- Tradition took precedence as Vijayadashami dawned yesterday with the commencement of a blood fight or Vajra Mushti Kalaga. Tradition says that when the first blood is drawn, the Maharaja then proceeds to the Banni tree to perform the traditional ritual of puja to Banni tree.

An arena had been created in the inner courtyard of the Palace with sand mixed with medicinal herbal powders. The four fighters — one each from Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Channapatna and Bangalore — entered the ring with a ceremony after several rituals. They went around the ring thrice.

Meanwhile, the Police Band was in attendance playing a medley that ranged from traditional Western march pieces to some contemporary ones.

The fighters then moved to the front of the ring and stood poised looking into the dark confines of the hallway from where the scion of the Royal family would give the signal for the fight to begin.

Wearing the Vajra Mushti, a weapon shaped from ivory on their right hand, heads shaven except for a tiny tuft of hair to which was attached a spring of medicinal grass, the fighters now liberally daubed with the red mud, stood tensing themselves.

Seconds went into minutes and the wait seemed interminable. When suddenly the fighters paired off and began to fight, it was brief and brutal. A sudden strike and one of the fighters slipped and fell. The other two sparred till a lightning smash opened a deep cut just at the eyebrow of a fighter, blood streamed down his chest. The fight was over. Still bleeding, the fighters once again moved to the front of the ring and bowed towards Wadiyar.

When the fighters moved off, it was time for Wadiyar to emerge in his royal finery. Watching all this high above in the gallery was his consort, Pramoda Devi Wadiyar and other close relatives from the Wadiyar family.

When Wadiyar entered on his way to the silver carriage, he was escorted by his personal bodyguards, all members from the Jatti family, who carried unsheathed swords and spears. Two of them waved mulitcolu- red cloths to dust and clear the path of Wadiyar.

Coming out of the Palace, he then climbed the steps of the ladder to seat himself on the silver throne on the silver-metal work carriage drawn by two white bullocks. One of the bullocks carried the royal Gandabherunda insignia in the neck halter. The caparisoned Palace elephants, along with the camels, the Royal cows and the Pattada Kudure (the Royal Pony) awaited the signal.

The procession moved slowly stopping several times to allow the small groups of local people to offer flowers and be blessed by the scion of the Wadiyar dynasty.

It was touching to see the fer-vour with which he was greeted. He raised his hands in benediction. At the Bhairaveswara temple, the procession halted and Wadiyar then dismounted from the carriage and entered the temple to worship the Banni (Shami) tree. At the completion of the hour - long rituals, the procession once again returned to the Palace, for private celebrations.

Jumboo Savari snippets: Who is the Pattada Kudure?

Pattada Kudure or the Royal Horse is a smallish off-white pony. If he had been at least three foot taller at the shoulder, he could have passed off for a Palomino, which is a very light tan with platinum mane and tail.

But what sets this pony apart from the other ponies is a very distinctive swirl of hair on its forehead. This is normally hidden from the gaze of the general public by combing the mane to hide it.

This swirl looks like a whirpool image. The handler said that it had been selected when it was a colt and carefully tended. He said that the pony has a sweet tooth and constantly looks for sugar cubes from the keeper. The late Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar had a pair of white horses in the late 50s which had been taught to prance when they walked to the puja venue.

Mysore Vuvuzela

The vuvuzela, a plastic horn which made such a racket at the FIFA World Cup, made its appearance in the city also.

Enterprising entrepreneurs were seen selling this smaller version less than a foot long made of cardboard and fixed with a plastic mouthpiece. They make ear-shattering racket when blown.

These Mysore vuvuzelas were being sold like hotcakes and everyone seemed determined to make every other person deaf.

Small hotels make hay!

Low-end hotels in city made a killing from the day Dasara began. Lodges on Dhanavantri road, which are low-end and cater to village tourists, had jacked up their prices. Rooms, which cost Rs. 250 to Rs. 300, were being charged anywhere between Rs. 500 and Rs. 600.

The several 'Boarding and Lodging' houses along Ashoka road and near the bus stand were also charging Rs. 700 to Rs. 900 for a room that earlier rented out for Rs. 250-Rs.300.

SOM spoke to scores of tourists, mainly farmers and learnt that all lodges and hotels were full. A farmer from Bagalkot, who had come to the city to show off the Dasara and Jumboo Savari to his wife, son, daughter-in-law and a grand daughter, said he was paying Rs. 900 a day for a tiny room with a single bed and several mattresses on the floor. "But I don't care as this is our festival," he said with pride.

SOM also met up with tourists from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, who said that there should be some regulation about room rents during Dasara. But they said that were not complaining.

Three young men from Palakad in Kerala said they were staying in a lodge on Sawday Road paying Rs. 1000 for a room that was normally rented out for Rs. 350.

Bus top view for only Rs. 100!

There were unprecedented crowds standing four-feet deep behind the barricades, all pushing and jostling for a view of the Jumboo Savari as it emerged from the Palace gates.

Taking advantage of this demand for a ‘clear view,’ several private bus operators neatly parked their vehicles before the barricades and charged a flat fee of Rs. 100 per person for the privilege of climbing on to the roof of the bus and viewing the advent of the Jumboo Savari.

Nobody was heard complaining about the unofficial ‘ticket’ but of the fact that it was ‘houseful’ on bus tops!

Resplendent Mysore Lancers

The Jumboo Savari parade was commanded by Karnataka Mounted Police Commandant S.G. Mariba Shetty who was in the ceremonial uniform of the famed Mysore Lancers.

There were 30 men in the ceremonial dress of Mysore Lancers with pennants flying from their lances, astride horses while an infantry strength battalion of armed Police and the Railway Protection Force stood in readiness to march on command.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore