Mysore, Oct. 8 (JP&MSA)- At the auspicious time of 11.50 am, soon after rahukala came to a close, the first day of Dasara started with a procession of Royal animals that commenced from the rear entrance of the private quarters of the Royal Family to the main entrance and on to the Vajra Musti courtyard of Amba Vilas Palace.

Inside, in an ornately decorated special pandal, the scion of the house of Wadiyars and his wife Pramoda Devi, Wadiyar's sisters and other near relatives waited to offer puja to the Royal animals.

The Purohit sprinkled holy water on all the royal animals and only then puja was offered to them, after offering prayers to the idol of Goddess Chamundeswari which is kept in the residential quarters of the private shrine of the Maharajas. Then the processions winded its way to the Someshwara temple in the Palace for further pujas and then the animals are taken back to the stables.

The ritual is repeated again at 5 pm today and will be done for all the nine days of Navarathri.

Earlier in the day, preparations for getting ready the Royal animals — 2 Elephants, 5 camels, 2 horses, the royal white horse and 2 cows — began in earnest at 7.15 am. The 5 palace elephants were being painted with ornamental designs at 7 am and were ready by 11.30 am.

The original royal white stallions are learnt to be stabled in Hassan for breeding purposes. The present pony was chosen since it is alleged to have five essential qualities necessary to call it sacred.

Around 200 policemen including 50 lady police have been assigned duty in the inner courtyard of the palace. They will be here for the duration of the festival.

SOM spoke to the Wadiyar family bodyguards who are all members of the famed Jatti kusti family. According to M.S. Madhava, who is bodyguard during Dasara festival, the four generations of M.R.Jatappa family have taken part in the Vajra Musti Kalaga. He said his brothers and cousins were all part of the personal bodyguards who protected the members of the royal family.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore