Dussehra is the festival celebrated to rejoice the victory of good over evil. Legend has it that the Prince of Ayodhya Lord Rama killed the King of Lanka Ravana on this eve several centuries ago. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Mysore where the festival becomes a ten-day long celebration, in comparison to the other parts of the country where it is celebrated only for a single day. The celebrations begin on the first day of the Navratri and continue on until the day of Vijaydashmi, which is otherwise known as Dussehra in India.
Every year, the Mysore Palace is lit up with a host of different lights, and the tradition has continued on for centuries now. Since the rule of the Vijaynagar Kings in the 15th century, many athletic competitions have been conducted to celebrate the festival, along with other indulgences like singing and dancing. A wrestling bout also takes place, and people from all over the country come to take part in it.
The Connection of Mysore Dussehra and Kite Flying
Another charm of the Dussehra celebrated in Mysore includes the kite flying competition which was introduced as a way to bring back the spotlight on the dying tradition. It was seen that folks in the cities were averting from flying the kites while in the rural areas it was still quite popular. As a result, the festival was integrated with the competition by arranging a challenging friendly match to see who makes the best kites and flies them.
This was organized by the tourism board of Mysore. Fly360, being a pioneer in designer kites and kite flying, played its role as consultant and helped the tourism board in conducting and managing the kite festival end to end.
What’s Unique about the Kites in Mysore Dussehra
The thing that sets the kites flown here apart is that they are all lit up with small LED lights and are flown at night. Every year, on the occasion, people gather and participate in the flying of kites of all sizes, shapes, and colours, in the hopes to win the grand prize which is set aside for the champion. Even though the activity was added quite late to the celebrations of the festival, it has gained popularity, bringing in national and international tourists alike.
The festivities for the celebrations of Dussehra in Mysore started about half a millenia ago when the Vijaynagar Kings ruled the province. However, the celebrations were not quite like what they are today. The spirit of the festival was once purely religious and focused on the art and culture in an effort to preserve the traditions in the Hindu culture.
Kite Flying and the Royal Connection
The festival gained royal patronage under the rule of the Vijaynagar Kings due to their patronizing of the art, architecture, culture, music, and dance. Even after the Wadiyars of Mysore declared their independence from the state, the festival was preserved and given an additional royal treatment. The royal family also had a liking towards kite flying. This is why the tourism board received complete support from the royal family for the event.
Schedule of the Kite Flying Event During Mysore Dussehra
In the ten days that the festival is celebrated, the kite flying festival is focused on only during two days of the festival. The night sky is quite mesmerizing to look at with all the glowing kites streaming through the otherwise dark background. Since the younger generation has been lacking the interest in the flying of the kites, the festival is a great way to bring the sport to the front lines.
The children are worshiped during the days that the kites are flown and the people who are masters at flying the kites hand out tips to them so that they can learn about the ancient sport. During the two days, the kites are flown from 10 am to 5 pm during the day and then a special occasion is held for the night-time flying as well.
The whole arrangement is made to indulge the local flyers as well as the people who come from afar. The only condition that is enforced in the competition is that each of the kites that are entered into the competition should be made by the flyers themselves and must be able to fly. The state organizes the competition and there are prizes for the winners as well.
The first, second, and third prizes roughly come in at INR 15 thousand, INR 10 thousand, and INR 5 thousand, respectively. Consolation prizes are also handed out for those who performed well but could not secure a position.
There are many other places in India which celebrate the festivals by organizing fun events such as kite flying. These include the celebration of the Utarayan in Ahmadabad with the International Kite Festival, the celebration of Basant Panchmi in Northern India with kite flying, Vaisakhi in Punjab, Independence Day in New Delhi, and other states like Goa and West Bengal as well.
The Kite Connection: Fly360 and the Mysore Dussehra Kite Festival
Ever since its conception in 1993, Fly360 has provided enthusiasts with designer kites which are handmade and handcrafted by experts. The trend for the designer kites in India was started by the company and till date, it continues to provide services and products for the various kite festivals which take place in the country.
Fly360 played a pivotal role in being a consultant to the Kite flying event held during Mysore Dussehra, due to the great response from all quarters, the event is also going to be held this year during September 29th and 30th.
The schedule for this year’s kite festival in Mysore has not yet been announced and the state tourism board promises to do so at the earliest in October. With less than a month left for the celebrations to start, the registrations for the competitions are to begin soon and the glory to the winner ensures that the people will participate in it, fueled with energy and enthusiasm.