Mysore Palace spans for more than 500 years. But the paintings of Mysore Palace aged between 1934 and 1945. The rulers of Wodeyars Dynasty commissioned five of the finest artists in Karnataka, during the British rule to paint the glory and grandeur of the Dasara Procession in Karnataka.
The paintings were 26 panels based on actual photographs were created. There are 26 paintings which depict Dasara procession. There also four other subjects such as the birthday procession of Krishna raja Wodeyar IV, Durga Puja on the south wall of the Kalyanamantapa, the car festival of Goddess Chamundeshwari and the celebration of Krishna Janmashtami on the western corridor.
The painting representing Dasara festival are based on actual photographs and executed during the years between 1934 and 1945. White oxen pulling the wagons wear their own red and green uniform - cloak adorned with Ganda Bherunda, the two-headed eagle and insignia of the Mysore royal family. Crowds line the street, and some folk watch from the rooftops.
Procession passing by St. Philomena's Cathedral, which was one of the largest Catholic churches built in India at that time, is also portrayed in the interior of Mysore Palace. Its two tapering spires rising to a height of 175 feet - nearly 54 metres, the foundation stone of this magnificent neo-Gothic cathedral was laid by the King Krishanraja Wodeyar IV, in 1933.
It is also painted that the schoolgirls peer out from behind the St. Philomena's Cathedral wall, but just outside the gate, the priest and European parishioners mingle with the spectators. Above the entrance to the church is a banner with a message of good will, it says "God bless our Maharaja". Classic cars from 1930 parked under lamp post of the side street. Horsemen in red uniform each one carrying a gleaming steel sword.
Top of an elephant is a signalman carrying a red flag. At the points of offering to the King the crowd stands patiently waiting for their king. Men in crowd wear the traditional Salwar Kameez - loose trousers with long tunics, but there's a difference. On the left of the shrine wear turbans and right were fezzes. Everyone regardless of religion participated in Dasara festival. Even one can see the tribute to the King by the common people at that time.
The realistic oil painting of Goddess Chamundi carries the sacred weapons that helped her defeat the demon god, Mahishasura, shows the perfect war raging against the evil. King and his court men are worshipping Goddess Chamundi for saving the common people from the evil.
Painting captures the moment in the procession that everyone waits for the arrival of the Maharaja. One of the paintings confirmed that Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV sits in front of his Golden Howdah. His son Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, sits slightly behind to his left and his brother is positioned between them. The royal elephant is adorned with golden headdress, tusks are encased in silver, body draped in gold cloth and its face and front legs have been colourfully painted. Gleaming poles and banners, batons royal insignias and flags blend in with the tall lamp posts strung with garlands. The torch light parade marks the final of Dasara festival in Mysore Palace at Bannimantap Grounds with a spectacular laser show, acrobatic show of motor bikes and equestrian show.
The Torch light parade was held in the parade grounds. The Maharaja would change to his riding clothes and make an entry on horse back to the parade ground to receive the salute by his military units. As it would be dusk, lights would be lit up to welcome the king and the military officials. Only military men would participate in this organized parade. The main purpose of this parade was to instil confidence in the people and also to showcase the military capability of the ruling king to the unknown enemies.
The Torch light show with lights, colours and royalty was in a class of its own and much appreciated by the visiting dignitaries and foreign tourists. The grand final would be the military band playing the national anthem of then State of Mysore.
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