Buffalo in Benares
Part 4

For more pics of our latest journey
to INDIA, click on the Image!


The annual Dusherra festival goes by the name of Dassera in Karnataka. The main goal of our latest journey to India was to visit this event and that we managed to accomplish in the best of places, the bustling, oriental city of Mysore which is the nearest neighboring town to the state capital of Bangalore, similarly perched up in the cooler regions of the lofty Deccan plateau.

   Click on the NOTES for a brief listen in!

Before the grand ceremony began there was a procession of vintage cars while at the same time people were trying to break through barriers of corrugated steel and climbing up everywhere  even causing an entire roof to cave in  so that three young men got badly injured and had to be taken to hospital. The police had a very difficult job trying to control the masses but they somehow managed to keep their calm throughout the festivities. A bit of a paradox, however, was when prior to the festival, young female guardsmen marched up and down dressed in tight uniforms setting off tremendous roars from the largely male dominated audience. That is when the accident occurred, what built up to that roof finally giving in. Shortly afterwards, we were in for a bit of a surprise when two separate TV teams approached us in order to make interviews with us. It was almost as if we had been two royal representatives from abroad with all this attention going on and for a day or two folks on the streets were saying to us: "Hello! I saw you on television the other day!"

The year before there were said to have been 21 elephants engaged in the Dassera festival but because of havoc caused by some of them setting off in a wild, infuriated stampede and subsequently getting several visitors  injured, the officials had now decided to bring it down  to  a maximum of eight tusk bearers for this year.

Rolling drums in gaudy, circular patterns.

Perhaps a distant relative to Bob Dylan´s "Leopard skin peel
box hat" with matching  clothes, drums and plumage!

The entire festival was like a firework of glistening colors and wonderous shapes of all kinds, while the prettiest shapes must have belonged to these young female dancers!

Wonder if these musicians ever realized how well the color of  their clothes matched with the "no parking" sign behind them!

  Puppets and people in an imaginative conglomeration.

The day after the show: Here are two well ornamented elephants showing off their flanks, as if saying: "What if Ray Bradbury had done "The illustrated elephant instead!"

Here is the embellished goddess in her golden crate carried by one of eight elephants at the end of this mighty procession.

Indian brass bands perform a tantalizing but at the same time be- wildering sort of jazz and march music mish-mash, presented with a notorious lack of discipline and with that distinctive, vaguely dissonant "Hindu" touch about it. Street weddings in Bombay often include a similar sort of orchestras though on a smaller scale.

Drums and drums and drums, continually passing by where we sat in the hot sun hypnotized by those mad swirling rhythms. 

Senais and similar woodwind instruments accompanied by drums were the predominant instruemental lineup of the festival.

One of many mythological creations stemming
from the Ramayana or Mahabaratha.

Colors, colors and more colors!

And here is another type of (four legged) vehicle parked in front of the Sri Chamundeswari temple on top of Chamundi hill just south of the central part of Mysore.

Up on Chamundi hill there was that same old com- motion like everywhere else in India where there are temples and gatherings of devotees cueing up to attend the long awaited services. Here a young child is blessed by a priest who gently applies a tikka mark onto  the forehead.

In front of Taj Mahal
Click on image for
next set of PICS!

Previous page!