- 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.
- 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.
- Dhanu ceremony:
- 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).