'Happy to be part of evolution of Mysuru Dasara'

Happy to be part of evolution of Mysuru Dasara, says chief priest of Chamundeshwari Devi temple

Young N Shashishekara Dixith is with father Nagendra Dixith during Chamundeshwari Devi Utsava atop the Chamundi Hill in Mysuru.

He has met Presidents, Governors, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and other VVIPs and blessed them on behalf of Chamundeshwari Devi. Still, Dasara ignites a child-like enthusiasm in him.

Chief priest of Chamundeshwari Devi Temple atop the Chamundi Hill N Shashishekara Dixith is in the service of the deity since 1979 assisting his grandfather Narayana Dixith and father Nagendra Dixith.

‘Dasara’ takes him back to his childhood, memories of watching Jamboo Savari by Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar with prince Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, exhibition at Jeevarayana Katte (JK) Grounds, circus, illumination of Mysuru Palace, etc.

Also Read | Parts of Mysore Palace get new coat of paint for Dasara

“We used to watch the Jamboo Savari near Guru Sweets in the corner of Devaraja Market on Sayyaji Rao Road,” he recalls.

Important role

Dixith, eighth generation priest of the temple, now chief priest under the State Religious Endowment department, plays an integral role in the celebration of Naada Habba Mysuru Dasara. He is the one who offers puja to the utsava murthy (procession deity) of Chamundeshwari Devi to mark the launch of the festivities atop the Chamundi Hill, abutting the temple. On Vijayadashmi too, he offers puja and sends the utsava murthy to Mysuru Palace to be part of the Jamboo Savari.

Dixith, assisted by his son S Abhilash Dixith, other priests and temple staff, conducts the Navaratri puja in the temple by decorating the idol in the sanctum sanctorum as Sapthamathrukas. On each day, the decoration changes to represent the deity of the day. On the inaugural day, he carries the prasada from the temple to the private durbar of the scion of the erstwhile royal family.

Tradition

Recollecting the history of his family and the temple Dixith said, "The then Maharaja Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar remodelled and expanded the temple and invited priests from Kancheepuram. My ancestor Krishna Dixith started his services to the temple in the early 19th century. Now, I am the eighth generation priest from the family. Continuing the tradition, my son also has done an Agama course and is being trained under my guidance.”

Son of Nagendra Dixith and Sarojamma, born in 1966, Shashishekara Dixith is married to Latha. He studied up to class 7 in Chamundi Betta Higher Primary School and joined T S Subbanna High School at Vidyaranyapuram and then D Bhanumaiah PU College. He studied Sanskrit and Agama at Maharaja’s Sanskrit Patashala. His brother N Sridhar Dixith is into social service.

Fame of temple

“The temple was deemed to be a personal place of worship for the then Maharaja Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar and his family. It became popular and most of the people of Mysuru city and Mysuru state became its devotees. Its fame grew due to the impact of the television media since 2004 and it has been attracting devotees like Tirupati Tirumala Temple. It is famous across nations,” he said.

“Initially, the puja was held inside the temple to mark the beginning of Navaratri. The puja moved outside the temple in 1983. Grand inauguration in the presence of ministers and chief minister started when J H Patel was chief minister. Over the years, there have been new additions and improvisations to make Dasara more popular. I am happy to be part of the process and witness to the developments,” Dixith said.

Among the visitors to the temple, Dixith reveres the late seer of Siddaganaga Mutt Shivakumara Swami and the late seer of Pejawar Mutt Vishwesha Tirtha Swami.

“I had the fortune of holding their hands and leading them up to the sanctum sanctorum,” he recalls.

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