There are places and occasions where you wish that time would stop and everything just goes on and on for eternity. Sadly, such moments pass very soon and you return to the same miserable life.
Then there are places and occasions, where you cannot wait to leave. You feel like sh*t and everything looks annoying and terrible. With every passing moment, you just want to run away after punching a random face in the crowd.
Mysore Dasara is one of those occasions where these issues just pop up and stay around for eternity. If you have ever sinned in your life, Karma will bring you to this festival as an act of penance.
I have spent about 5 years in Bangalore and never gathered courage or patience to visit this event. I would not have gone there if someone had given me a million dollars, mostly because of the bad feedback from the visitors.
So why did I go to attend Mysore Dasara this year?
Because Ganga is too dirty and I needed a way to remove the burden of sins or any mistake that happened accidentally during my journey on the road.
And because I had some free time, Bangalore was too trafficy and I thought that I should have my own opinion of this festival before relying on everyone else.
Now there are two types of bloggers who attend any festival. The ones who go on sponsored trips, have first class tickets to attend the festival and their expenses are paid by some client.
Then there are people like me who have no money and hope that either they’ll enjoy the festival being the part of the crowd or will disguise themselves as media person and get to click good shots. Sadly it didn’t work here.
You see, every third person at Mysore Dasara is a photographer or a blogger. The hostel, where I was staying, was filled with people exchanging Instagram handles. Every corner of the festival parade ground either had some social media wannabe or an eve teaser showing, pushing and touching foreigners.
The paid blogs will tell you the Mysore Dasara is one of the must attend festivals in India and one of the top places in Karnataka but hear me out. If you want peace and don’t wish to remember your misdeeds of past then please avoid it.
Mysore Dasara proved to be an epic waste of time and money. I travelled all the way from Goa, booked a hostel that had increased its prices and was overbooked to a level that they had to pitch tents in the compound. Afterwards I had to take another shitty bus back to Goa.
Later someone asked me about photography tips for Mysore Dasara and my advice was to hope for nothing and you’ll find nothing.
So why you should avoid this festival (unless some social media brand is paying for your trip and tickets) let me explain in Buzzfeed mode (listicles).
Neverending traffic jams
Mysore is a small town that can be explored on a day. But if you are here during Dasara, you’ll only be able to get from one point to another in minimum one hour. Because there are so many people, so many auto rikshaws, so many taxis and so many private vehicles, there is no place for anything to move, so the world comes to a standstill. My bus took 3 hours to enter Mysore from a point where the stand is just 30 min away. All because of traffic jams. WTF!!
Sea of human heads everywhere
Why I am saying human heads is because there is so much crowd that you can only see human head and no other body-part. Occasionally, you get hit by a hand, a random elbow shoves your head or a random foot crushes your toe but you can only feel that and not understand where are they coming from? There are only heads everywhere.
This crowd is on such a level that there is no place to walk. People are crawling. It almost feels like you have entered a movie with dystopian setting where everything is sad and hopeless but look there is a huge building with lots of lights!! You want to go to the building? Congrats, now there are more heads to fight with.
Fun experience – An autowala ran away with a 200 rs note that I gave him under the pretense of getting change. Long story. Mysore Dasara triggers the lets looto mode among the people of this city.
So the hotel that is usually INR 200, is now INR 1000 and the hostel that was selling its beds for INR 300 is now doing the same for NR 700. Autowalas become so filthy rich after Mysore Dasara that they don’t work for rest of the year and plan a trip to Switzerland afterwards.
IT’S A MEGA EVE TEASING FESTIVAL
This I cannot comprehend. What is this fucking mob mentality? People in crowd can be seen touching, nudging women, especially if there are white girls. If nothing makes you feel like not attending this stupid festival then eve teasing will. There are men who probably come here for this purpose only. Some 15 days before I had gone to Ganesh Visarjan and crowd was really disciplined there and then Mysore Dasara happened.
Mismanaged Jambu Sawari
So the day that draws most of the crowd is also the most mismanaged. People start to gather on the streets at 9:00 AM and the roads are blocked by 10:00 AM. There is no place to walk, if you are a visitor who is planning to attend Mysore Dasara with the idea that if the festival is going to start at 2 PM then I can reach there by 12:30. Well, congrats, now you cannot see anything.
People have no place to sit, so they sit on walls, on gates or on anything that doesn’t pierce their pant and get inside their ass. Poor trees, some of them even fell down because of so many people sitting on them and yet no one moved a bit.
There were horse cart owners who were charging INR 500 just so that tourists could stand on them and get a clear view.
Mysore Dasara doesn’t have any information anywhere. The website has some details but never says anything clearly. You can buy tickets but it takes forever to find the place where they are available. Even if you buy a ticket, you need to reach the venue by 10:00 AM otherwise there won’t be a route open that will let you reach anywhere closer to the venue.
There was no way to figure out the exact timings of Jambu Sawari. It was said that the procession will begin at 2:00 PM which extended to 3:30 and later I heard that it will now start at 5:00 PM. I left at 4:00 PM and decided that I am never coming to Mysore ever again.
In short, even after reading this blog, you plan to attend Mysore Dasara, then congrats, you are brave enough to scale Mount Everest. Let whatever be, this is not the right time to visit Mysore. There are time and days when you can plan your trip to this gorgeous city of Karnataka but I will absolutely advice against attending Mysore Dasara.