MYSURU DASARA – For 10 days every year, Mysuru magically transforms itself from a laid-back town to a bustling, joyous and vivid centre of life during the famous Mysuru Dasara. The entire town turns into a pageant of splendour, custom, tradition, pomp and show, with gaiety, music, dance, and frolic, and a bit of the contemporary thrown in. At the heart of this is the Mysuru Palace which is not only decorated and lit up but is also where the scion of the erstwhile royal family holds a traditional darbar and many concerts are hosted each day.
Elsewhere in the city, there are sports contests, wrestling matches, theatre, music and folk dance performances, a huge fair on the exhibition grounds, adventure activities, flower shows and food melas, and a host of other activities. The spectacle culminates in spectacular fashion on Vijayadashami with the Jambu Savari, a long procession with elephants, mounted police, vintage cars and floats, and ends with a torchlight parade at nightfall.
CHITRA SANTHE – This is street art at its best. For a whole day, on a Sunday in January, the road in front of Karnataka’s premier art institute, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, in Bengaluru is closed to traffic and artists from all over the country display their work. There is possibly nothing like this anywhere else as thousands of artists—professional, amateur, hobbyists and part-time—get a single platform to showcase their talent. Lakhs of visitors arrive to savour this open-air display.