Dhanu Yatra

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    • The ‘Dhanu Yatra’ festival, considered to be the world’s largest open-air theatre, began recently in Odisha’s Bargarh.
      • The vibrant Dhanu Yatra is associated with the culture of Odisha.

    More about the ‘Dhanu Yatra’ festival

    • Origin of the festival:
      • The ‘Dhanu Yatra’, which marks the victory of good over evil, came into existence in Bargarh in 1947-48 as part of the celebration of the country’s Independence and is held annually.
    • About:
      • Spread across a 8 km radius area around the Bargarh municipality, it is the world’s largest open-air theatre, one that finds a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.
      • The enactments of the play are being performed in many other places in Western Odisha. The major one of these is the original one at Bargarh.
    • The plays in the festival: 
      • Dhanu ceremony:
        • It is about the episode of Krishna and Balaram’s visit to Mathura to witness the Dhanu ceremony organized by their (maternal) uncle Kansa.
      • Beginning & conclusion:
        • The plays in the festival start with the dethroning of Emperor Ugrasen of Mathura by angry Kansa over the marriage of his sister Devaki with Vasudev.
        • The festival will conclude with the death of demon king Kansa and restoration of the throne to Ugrasen.
      • Enactment of Krishna’s life:
        • With the commencement of the festival, Bargarh becomes King Kansa’s Mathura, and Amapali, located about eight km away, becomes Gopapura, where Lord Krishna is said to have spent his childhood. 
        • The Jeera river which flows between the two places becomes the Yamuna river.
        • The rule of Kansa, his death and the exploits of Lord Krishna are enacted in 14 places across the area during the open-air festival. 
      • Relating the act to reality:
        • During his rule in Bargarh, the demon king Kansa penalises offenders on the streets and also enters the government offices and pulls up indisciplined officials. 
        • He also listens to the grievances of people at his ‘durbar’ and passes orders even to government officials.
    • Festival of 2022:
      • Around 3,500 artists of 155 cultural troupes from across the country and abroad will perform at the Rajdurbar and Rangamahal during the festival this year.
      • The festival, which is being organised after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will conclude on January 6 next year (2023).

    Source: TH