Come Dasara and Mysore becomes a bustling centre of festivities, fun and fantasy. Every night during these 10 days, a gargantuan incandescent word in Kannada - Susvaagata(meaning Welcome) - appears magically on the dark south-eastern skyline of the city where during the daylight one would have seen the expansive Chamundi Hill, the silent sentinel of the city. This is how Mysore welcomes its guests during this festive season.
But no such visual invitation is required to go to any stranger's house these days as you can just walk into any house in the evening if the dolls are arranged in that house. Every house, literally, becomes a doll house for 10 days. Dolls that are being collected since generations are taken out from wooden chests, almirahs, lofts and showcases; they are diligently dusted, and neatly arranged on temporary wooden steps that would have been constructed beforehand.
Pattada Gombe, a pair of dolls (King & Queen) carved out of the rare red sandalwood, are placed at the summit of the arrangement, while other dolls occupy lower steps. Dolls of every hue and mood vye for the attention of the onlooker and thereby taking him back to the magical world of innocence.