After installing Nava Durgeyaru, we installed Adishakthi and performed a ten-day non-stop pooja during Dussehra. We named this as Mangaluru Dasara. When we started, we never thought that it could capture people's imagination to such an extent. Today it is one of the most important festivals that people of Mangaluru eagerly long for year after year. Roads are chock-a-block with people and sections of the roads are actually closed for vehicular traffic to allow for people to move around. Lakhs of people including foreigners throng to the temple during Dasara.
Worshipping Nava Durgeyaru at one place was not there in the country before we started it. Even in West Bengal, well known for the famous Durga Puja, prayers are offered to Nava Durgas in different places. But we started a new tradition. Now many Temples follow this.
Shobha Yatre, a grand floodlit procession taken out on the last day of Mangaluru Dasara is another attraction for Mangalureans. The number of tableau (Idols/stages mounted on trucks) has crossed 100 from just a handful in the last few years. It shows the popularity of the Shobha Yatra. It is really an endearing sight to see lakhs of devotees participating in the Yatra with enthusiasm. In fact, we are forced to reduce the number of tableau owing to Security issues.
People from other countries also descend on Mangaluru to witness Dasara celebrations. Various cultural programmes are held as a part of Dasara celebrations. We have not taken a Rupee as donation from the Government to conduct Dasara. It is the people who have been funding the celebrations.
Goodu Deepa competition being organized by 'Namma Kudla' Social Service Organisation during Diwali is another attraction. Thousands of people participate in this competition.
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