Bargarh: The famous 11-day long ‘Dhanu Jatra’, considered as the largest open air theatre of the world, kicked off in Odisha’s Bargarh town today. It was inaugurated by Rajya Sabha MP Prasanna Acharya in the presence of senior officials of the district administration.
During the festival, Bargarh town turns into Mathura, the kingdom of Kansa. Ambapali, situated across river Jeera, converts into Gopapur while river Jeera transforms into Yamuna.
The ‘Dhanu Jatra’ started with Kansa’s accession to throne followed by wedding of King Kansa’s sister Devaki with Basudev. It will conclude with ‘Kansa Badha’ at the hands of his nephew Lord Krishna on the day of Pausa Purnima on January 21.
While Bhubaneswar Pradhan is playing the role of King Kansa, Ayush Birtia and Ashutosh Birtia are portraying the characters of Lord Krishna and Balaram, respectively.
Rallied around the theme of mythological king Kansa and his annihilation by Lord Krishna, the uniqueness of the festival lies in the backdrop. Instead of a traditional stage, the act is played out all over the town and nearby villages.
Three mythological stages of Lord Krishna’s life– Krishna Leela, Mathura Vijay and Kansa Badha– are played out during the festival. A large number of theater artistes, the residents of Bargarh and its nearby villages participate in the play.
Over the years, commercial interests have also gained prominence during the festival attracting thousands of tourists not only from Odisha or India, but also from far off countries.