Bargarh: The western Odisha town of Bargarh is bustling with activities for the ensuing Dhanu Yatra, the biggest open air theatre in the world, beginning from January 2.
This would be the 68th edition of Dhanu Yatra in Bargarh town.
Preparation for the most popular event began on Sunday evening after a ritual in the Samaleswari temple. Later, the enthusiastic devotees took out a procession after obtaining the Agyanmala from Goddess Samaleswari and arrived at the Sanchara Padia near Hatapada where the royal priest Siba Prasad Dash conducted the traditional rituals which were performed by Bijay Kumar Rath, Additional Collector, Bargarh.
After the rituals, a pillar was placed at the place of worship. The royal priest later invited Hrusikesh Bhoi to play the role of ‘Kansa’, the demon king. Prior to this, Bhoi has played the role of Kansa for eight times.
Among others, Bargarh SP, B Jugal Kishore, senior district officials, members of Dhanu Yatra Committee, actors for Dhanu Yatra and thousands of people were present at the place of ritual.
During the 11-day festival which will conclude on January 12, the Bargarh town will be renamed as Mathura Nagari, the kingdom of Kansa while Ambapalli will be renamed as Gopapura, where Lord Krishna had spent his childhood days. Besides, the Jira river flowing on the outskirts of the town will be renamed as Yamuna.
Talking to media persons, the Additional Collector said efforts are on to make this festival more attractive and entertaining. “I hope that the festival would be held in a peaceful manner for which the district administration would take all possible measures. Besides, steps would be taken to complete all festival related works in a time-bound manner. Our first priority would be to maintain law and order during the festival for which the district SP has assured us to provide additional police force this time,” he added.
Expressing happiness for being invited to perform the role of Kansa for the ninth time, Hrushikesh Bhoi said this time, there will be some more plays at this open theatre as decided by the theatre directors to entertain the people.