Lakhs gathered in Mysuru, the cultural capital of Karnataka, on Friday ahead of Vijayadashami as the city residents worshipped gods and goddesses along with arms, horses and the king's throne at the Mysuru Palace.
The visitors to the city usually go up on the final days of the festival when the grand procession by caparisoned elephants around the royal palace is slated.
"The number of visitors as Vijayadashami approaches goes significantly higher than during the beginning of the festival. Overall, this year we're expecting at least 30 per cent increase in the footfall," Additional Deputy Commissioner T. Yogesh told IANS.
Mysuru, located about 150 km from Bengaluru, attracts visitors from across the world during Dasara, which has been celebrated over centuries to mark the triumph of good over evil.
Friday -- being the ninth day of the 10-day Mysuru Dasara, which started on September 21 -- is celebrated as "Ayudha Puje" (worship of instruments) by worshipping tools, machines and instruments.
Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, the head of the titular Mysuru royal family, had also performed puja at the royal armoury which has swords, guns, and daggers of the Wodeyar dynasty at the Amba Vilas Palace, commonly known as the Mysuru Palace.
Thousands flocked to get a glimpse of the regal treasures and artefacts that were displayed in the illuminated royal durbar hall during the puja.
The Wodeyar dynasty had ruled the then Kingdom of Mysore for over four centuries from 1399.
One of the rulers from the dynasty, Raja Wadiyar is credited with holding the Dasara celebrations for the first time in 1610. Ever since, the royal family has played a significant part in the festivities that have gained popularity across the world.
This year's Mysuru Dasara also had the special attraction of a Dasara Airshow with Indian Air Force planes and army paratroopers performing.
A total of 15 caparisoned elephants were also readied on Friday for the much-awaited procession on Dasara on Saturday, that will be flagged off by the Chief Minister.
The procession will be followed by horse-drawn carriages and tablauex from the royal palace to the Bannimantap Grounds through the city.
The Mysuru Palace, built in 1912, has been lit up with thousands of light bulbs during the evening on all days of the fest.
The celebrations draw at least 10 lakh visitors from the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Maharashtra among others, according to officials. Tourists from across the world also visit the city during this festival.