Mysuru (Karnataka): The famous 10-day Dussehra celebrations commenced in Musuru on Monday with religious and traditional fervour, with President of India Droupadi Murmu inaugurating the festivities.
Celebrated as 'Nada Habba' (state festival), the Dussehra or 'Sharan Navaratri' festivities are expected to be a grand affair this year depicting Karnataka's rich culture and traditions, coupled with reminiscence of royal pomp and glory, after being devoid of fanfare for the last two years in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The President opened the festivities during the auspicious "Vrushchika Lagna" by showering flower petals on the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari, the presiding deity of Mysuru royals, amid chanting of vadic hymns, at the premises of Chamundeshwari temple atop the Chamundi Hills here.
Murmu is the first President to take part in Mysuru Dussehra in the recent past. She was accompanied by Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi and Shobha Karandlaje and several Ministers in the state cabinet among others at the inaugural.
The President also visited the Chamundeshwari temple and offered prayers to the goddess, who is referred to as the "Naada Devate" (state deity), ahead of the inaugural. This is also her first visit to any state as the President of India.
The 10-day event, like every year, is set to showcase Karnataka's cultural heritage resplendent with folk art forms, and attracts large crowds and tourists, after it was scaled down for the last two years due to Covid-19.
President Murmu, who started her speech in Kannada by offering her devotion to the goddess and extending greetings to the citizens of the state, said such festivals bind the Indian society together and exemplify unity in diversity.
"Mysuru Dasara is a festival that highlights the pride of India's rich culture," she said. Karnataka, the President said, is also the land that reflects India's rich spiritual traditions, while pointing at the state's connection with Buddhist and Jain traditions, Shankaracharya, Sufism, and social reform movement started by Basavanna and others in 12 century through their "Vachanas" by setting up "Anubhava Mantapa".