Naada Habba – Dasara in Karnataka



Naada Habba, the 10-day festival of Dasara, or Dusshera, is one of the most popular festivals in Karnataka, especially in the Mysore region. In 2014, Naada Habba begins on September 25 and ends on October 3. Dasara celebration in Karnataka is more than six hundred years old and traces its origin to the Vijayanagara kingdom (1336 AD -1565 AD). In Karnataka, the origin of Naada Habba is mainly associated with the slaying of the demon Mahishasura by Chamundeswari, an aspect of Durga worshipped in this region. The highlight of the 10-day festival is a procession on Vijayadasami day (final day) which symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

The important pujas, ceremonies and rituals associated with Dasara in Mysore is observed in Amba Vilas Palace by the Wodeyars, the erstwhile rulers of the region. The head of the Wodeyar family conducts all the religious rituals associated with Dasara on all ten days. He appears in royal robes and holds a durbar at the Amba Vilas Palace and he gets the respect of a king during this period in the palace.

For the general public, Dasara is a perfect amalgamation of carnival and ancient religious tradition. The 10 days of festivities caters to all section of the society. There is art and culture, classical music and dance, Yuva Dasara for youngsters, heritage rides, food melas, flower shows, traditional wrestling, replica of important monuments from other parts of India and the lighting of all heritage buildings in Mysore.

The Dasara procession on the final day is led by caparisoned elephants carrying an idol of Goddess Chamundeswari, which is on a golden seat atop an elephant. It is followed by decorated horses, folk dancers, and colorful floats, which throws light on the tradition and culture of Karnataka. The procession wends its way from the Maharaja's palace to the torch light parade ground and returns to the palace.

The Naada Habba is undoubtedly a living symbol of the ancient culture of Kannadigas.