During the 11-day festival that kicked off on December 23, Bargarh town was made to resemble Mathura — the birthplace and homeland of Lord Krishna.The festival is based on Krishna Leela and Mathura Vijay.
While river Jeera of Bargarh was made to resemble river Yamuna, Amapali, located on the outskirts of the town, was transformed into Gopapura. Kansa ruled the small western Odisha town Bargarh for 11 days. The tyrannical rule of Kansa, his death and the exploits of Lord Krishna were enacted in 14 main places in Mathura and Gopapura.
“The annual festival came into being in 1947-48 to celebrate Indian’s Independence and to symbolise the victory of good over evil,” said the Chairman of Dhanu Jatra organising committee, Sureswar Satpathy.
A highlight of this year’s festival was actor Bhubaneswar Pradhan playing the role of Kansa after a gap of 17 years.
Over 70 artists performed in the Dhanu Yatra at Mathura, another 45 artists played different roles at Gopapura during the festival, said Satpathy.
This apart, around 3,000 artists of 120 cultural troupes from across the state and from neighbouring states performed at the Raj Durbar, Nanda Durbar and Rangamahal during the festival.
During Dhanu Jatra, Kansa moves round the city and and slaps fine on offenders on the streets. He also enters government offices and pulls up officials for lapses. People become his obedient subjects. The rule of Kansa symbolises an oppressive rule and the coronation of Ugrasen marks the beginning of democracy, Satpathy added.