This place go live after Dasara and the fair typically lasts for a few months after Dussera. The crowd pullers are all those stalls selling anything from toys to plastic goods to cloths to fashion accessories to kitchen utensils.
And of course the crowd finally settles at those open air food stalls one find as the indispensable finale of any fairs or exhibitions in Mysore.
The exhibition ground is quite sprawling that demands a good deal of walking. At the extreme end is the amusement section with giant wheels, toy trains etc.
On the way you would cross pavilions setup by may government departments and organizations. Quality of the displays vary. Some of them are well planned and worth the time spend.
The stall by sericulture department is both informative and practical. This is located before the amusement area mentioned above. The whole process of making silk, right from the live silkworms of various age and the tools used in the industry are on display. What more the courtyard of the pavilion is planted with mulberry plants, the leaf of which is silkworm food!
Towards the northern side is a “forest” complete with stuffed animals in a forest like scenario. This is a permanent section by the forest department. Large trees are grown to mimic a real forest. And there is a low lit path that zigzags through this section. This is really thrilling if you visit after the sunset.
The state tourism department set up their pavilion during every year’s exhibition. Typically it showcases heritage as well as Nature from a tourism perspective.
The state archeological department too have a permanent pavilion towards the northeast part of the exhibition grounds. On the display are the archeological artefacts, mostly carvings of images and also a good deal of photographs of monuments.
During the inaugural weeks, all that stalls and pavilions are yet to set up. And during the closing weeks they start dismantling. The ideal time is the mid of the exhibition season, that is typically many weeks after Dasara. The evenings are crowded especially the weekends. Since it is an open ground affair, it is best enjoyed after sunset.
So how to get to the Dasara Exhibition grounds?
It is located right across the main gate (Jayamarthanda Gate) of Mysore Palace. Cross the road, you are already on the exhibition grounds. Opposite to the exhibition ground is a sprawling parking lot. The ticket counter (Rs.10) is located right beneath the massive archway to the exhibition grounds.
The whole exhibition ground sits on the bed of an erstwhile lake called Doddakere (means, big lake). That’s why the ground is at a unusually lower level compared to palace locality or the roads around it.The history of Doddakere is another story any way.