Bargarh, Jan 6:
The 65th edition of the world famous Dhanu Yatra was inaugurated by Bargarh MLA Sadhu Nepak this evening.
With the inauguration of the 11 day festival, Bargarh town has turned into Mathurapuri, the capital city of tyrant king Kansa of Dwapara yuga, river Jira to Yamuna and Ambapalli has transformed into Gopapur, where Lord Krishna grew up in the care of his foster parents Nanda and Yashoda.
In accordance with the tradition, a cultural procession will move towards the Rajdurbar at Hatapada after the traditional puja at the Samalei Temple here in the afternoon.
In the evening, several acts like the marriage of Devaki and Vasudev in true regal style and fervour, a warning from the sky, Kansa’s ascension to the throne of Mathura by dethroning Ugrasen and Kansa shunting Devaki and Vasudev to jail were enacted at Ramji Temple at Talipada.
While Hrushikesh Bhoi is playing the character of Kansa, child artistes Shreyansh Mahapatra and Shibansh Mahapatra are enacting the roles of Srikrishna and Balaram respectively.
Dhanu Yatra of Bargarh is unique in many respects. For one thing, this is the world’s biggest open-air theatre. For another, with almost the entire population of Bargarh town taking part, it is the biggest assembly of actors that a play can ever have.
It is a cultural extravaganza where the same mythological play is enacted year after year, but the interest level of the audience and the actors has remained undiminished over the years.
Dhanu Yatra is a conglomeration of several open-air theatres, with the action taking place simultaneously at different places. Both actors and viewers keep moving from one place to another as the drama unfolds.
There is nothing new in the play. But its uniqueness lies in the way it is enacted and the willing participation of the public, including government servants, politicians, businessmen and spectators.
The play comprises three mythological episodes ‘Krishna Leela’, ‘Mathura Bijaya’ and ‘Kansa Badha’.
The age-old story of Lord Krishna killing the tyrannical King Kansa of Mathura forms the central theme of the play.
King Kansa, the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna, invites Krishna and Balaram to witness and participate in the festivity of Dhanuyatra, which is held in his capital Mathura.
But Lord Krishna smells an assassination plot behind the invitation and ultimately kills his tyrant uncle Kansa and liberates his subjects from his oppressive rule.
The play ends with the death of King Kansa.
It is believed that, Dhanu Yatra in its present form started in 1948, post-Independence, as a performance charged with a nationalistic fervour.
Kansa, the demon king, symbolises the imperialist British government on its way out and Lord Krishna stands for the nationalistic aspiration of the people.
Adequate security arrangements have been made to make the event a success this year. Five platoons of police force, led by seven DSPs and 17 inspectors, have been deployed to prevent any untoward incident during the grand festival.
The main attraction of this year’s Dhanu Yatra is the participation of three dancers from far off Russia, who will entertain King Kansa with their dances at his royal court apart from dance groups from different districts.