No festivities at Mysore Palace this Dasara

Last Updated 16 August 2014, 20:36 IST

For the first time in centuries, the Wadiyar family has decided not to celebrate Navarathri festivities inside the Mysore Palace, a move that may take the sheen out of this year’s Dasara.

Revenue and District In-charge Minister V Sreenivas Prasad announced on Saturday, “No rituals associated with Dasara, such as the ‘Khas (private) Darbar’ and other ceremonies of Navarathri will be held inside the Amba Vilas Palace.”  The Wadiyars have celebrated the festival with pomp at Srirangapatna from 1610 and in Mysore from 1799.

The welcoming ceremony of Dasara elephants was held at Aranya Bhavan here on Saturday. Traditionally, the event was held at the Jayamarthanda Gate of the Amba Vilas Palace.

Sreenivas Prasad, who took part in the event at Aranya Bhavan, said the decision was taken by Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, wife of the late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, during a meeting with him and representatives of the Dasara Executive Committee, recently.

“During the meeting, she said a few rituals of Navarathri celebrations would not be observed, as the family was mourning the death of Srikantadatta Wadiyar. She requested us to cooperate with the decision, following which the ceremony to welcome Dasara elephants was held here,” he said.

He said the State government would officially invite Pramoda Devi for Dasara by paying her the customary royalty. “A delegation comprising Mysore Deputy Commissioner, Cooperation Minister H S Mahadeva Prasad and others will meet Pramoda Devi to discuss her proposals,” he said.

In a press meet, Pramoda Devi had demanded the repeal of the Mysore Palace Acquisition Act and Bangalore Palace Acquisition Act and urged the government to hand over the two palaces to the Wadiyars.

According to historian P V Nanjaraj Urs, cancellation of Private Darbar is unprecedented in the history of Dasara celebrations. Quoting an instance, he said Raja Wadiyar I did not cancel Dasara celebrations even though his son had died a day before Navarathri in 1610, when the royal family was supposed to begin its first Dasara celebrations in Srirangapatna.

The period of mourning, among Urs community, to which the Wadiyars belong, lasts only for 13 days. “After the 13th day, all festivals can be celebrated. Pramoda Devi should have coordinated with the State government for the smooth celebration of Dasara.

Instead, she has adopted blackmailing tactics, which might affect the spirit of Dasara,” he said.

(Published 16 August 2014, 20:36 IST)

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