Started in the consecutive year post independence, this festival has turned bigger and better with every progressive year. In fact, the celebration is renowned as being the largest open-air theatrical fest in the world. The annual affair of Dhanu Yatra has not only made Odisha proud but is also significantly known for showcasing rich culture and phases from mythology. Moreover, this gala fest which portrays the victorious story of good over evil is no less than any International event.
Each year, in the month of January, the people of Bargarh, visitors and participants reel under the grandeur of Dhanu Yatra and go on merry-making for a period of nine to eleven days. When this event started in 1948, it was said that the celebrations are to symbolize the taste of freedom which India achieved after about two centuries just as Lord Krishna had freed the people from tyrant Yadava King Kansa.
However, there were breaks during 1950-2008 when Dhanu Yatra wasn’t conducted, but that did not dampen the spirit of residents and folks from adjoining cities to bring it back with enhanced fervor. Hence since 2009, this epic drama got organised every year, including this year too, thus wooing and charming people from far and wide.
The main festivity of Dhanu Yatra involves fourteen places which are converted into venues depicting mythological destinations.
The main central town area of Bargarh is converted into Mathura, river Zeera flowing beside becomes river Yamuna and the adjacent place by the name of Ambapalli is transformed into Gopapura.
Right from the marriage of Devaki and Vasudeva to the defeat and death of Kansa, there are many glimpses from the real life of Lord Krishna that can be pleasantly spectated. It is during this gathering that the professionals come down to demonstrate some really high intensity drama!
Even the administration of Bargarh gets divided into different committees on the basis of places such as Mathura Committee, Gopapura Committee, Rang mahal Committee etc.
The entire city gets soaked in the festive mood and people are also seen in the mythological attires throughout the day. Visitors also get to enjoy in the fairs which are held during this time.
Despite following and portraying the original story of Lord Krishna killing Kansa, there are some other extremely noteworthy characteristics of Dhanu Yatra:
1. At first, the person, who enacts the part of Kansa actually has a good side to himself and is not typically evil.
This person moves around the complete set-up, sometimes seated on an elephant, and spreads awareness to eradicate social evils besides rewarding people with good practices like cleanliness, respecting women and others.
2. He even punishes the defaulters from which a certain amount of fine is collected to ultimately get utilized in the fest proceedings.
3. Another aspect which shows that Dhanu Yatra is not just a mere drama rather it is enlightening too is when the core committee awards scholarship to meritorious students.
Children performing excellently in studies or extra-curricular activities are given scholarship for further motivation and and a considerable aid to their finances.
The most interesting one has been kept to the last.
4. You will notice that during this fest the entire town administration of Bargarh, its police and other higher Government officials actively involve themselves in the fanfare.
The high point being, all of them even obey the orders meted out by King Kansa, thus appropriately maintaining the law and order!
Now that you know everything about the majestic resplendence of Dhanu Yatra and things that set it apart, we hope that you would soon plan a trip to Bargarh, before the celebrations come to an end!