The famous 11-day long ‘Dhanu Jatra’, considered as the largest open-air theatre of the world begins at Bargarh in western Odisha today. The Jatra is based on the mythological story of Lord Krishna and his demon uncle King Kansa. It is about the episode of Krishna and Balaram’s visit to Mathura to witness the Dhanu ceremony organized by their (maternal) uncle King Kansa.
Dhanu Jatra is the annual drama-based open-air theatrical performance celebrated in and around Bargarh city is considered to be the world’s largest open-air theatrical festival that finds a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. The play starts with the dethroning of the emperor Ugrasena by the angry prince Kansa, over the marriage of his sister Devaki with Basudeba, and ends with the death of Kansa, and Ugrasen restoring back to become the king. During Dhanu Jatra, King Kansa moves around the city and slaps fine on offenders on the streets. He also enters government offices and pulls up officials for lapses. People become his obedient subjects. Ministers, bureaucrats, and police officials appear before the demon King during the 11-day yatra and act as per the direction of the King.
Earlier, Biju Patnaik, the former chief minister of Odisha was fined once along with his ministers by King Kansa. The rule of Kansa symbolizes an oppressive rule and the coronation of Ugrasen marks the beginning of democracy. The annual festival came into being in 1947-48 to celebrate Indian’s Independence and to symbolize the victory of good over evil. Over 70 artists performed in the Dhanu Yatra at Mathura, another 45 artists played different roles at Gopapura during the festival. This apart, around 3,000 artists of 120 cultural troupes from across the state and from neighboring states will perform at the Raj Durbar, Nanda Durbar, and Rangamahal during the festival. The department of Culture of the Government of India has accorded National Festival status to Dhanu Jatra in November 2014.
Source: News On Air