Mysuru is at its carnivalesque best during the 10-day Dussehra (locally spelt ‘Dasara’) festival held September or October. During this time the Mysuru Palace is dramatically lit up every evening, while the town is transformed into a gigantic fairground, with concerts, dance performances, sporting demonstrations and cultural events running to packed houses.
On the last day the celebrations are capped off in grand style. A dazzling procession of richly costumed elephants, garlanded idols, liveried retainers and cavalry, marching through the streets to the rhythms of clanging brass bands.
Mysuru is choc-a-bloc with tourists during the festival, especially on the final day. To bypass suffocating crowds, consider buying a Dasara VIP Gold Card (₹7500 for two adults). Only 1000 are available, and though expensive, it assures you good seats at the final day gala and helps you beat the entry queues at other events, while providing discounts on accommodation, dining and shopping. It’s also possible to buy tickets (₹250 to ₹1000) just for entering the palace and Bannimantap for the final day’s parades.