Rashmi Rekha Das

The western Odisha town of Bargarh has transformed into Mathura as Dhanu Jatra, the world's biggest open air theatre, kicked off on Tuesday. The festival will continue till January 6, 2023.

According to sources, a big rally will be taken out from Gandhi Square at 2.30pm to Samaleswari temple to mark the diamond jubilee celebrations of the world-famous Dhanu Yatra. 

As many as 20 cultural outfits from Odisha and neighbouring states would participate in the rally. The outfit members will conduct a puja at the temple before leaving for the palace of Maharaja Kansa at Hatapada at 6pm. Later, the inaugural function will be held in the presence of chief guests- Parliamentarian Suresh Pujari and legislator Debesh Acharya.

Meanwhile, Bargarh has transformed into Mathura. 

The theme is borrowed from ‘Krishna Leela’ and ‘Mathura Vijay’.

It is learnt that as many as 30 artistes hailing from Kolkata took 15 days to give Maharaja Kansa’s palace a look of Rajasthan palace. The palace is 42 ft in height, 120ft in length and 35 widths.  

Residents of Bargarh are excited to watch Dhanu Yatra after a gap of two years due to Covid restrictions.

A local resident said, “We were eagerly waiting for this moment. Last two years we had missed being part of it. The 11-day fair will begin with the birth of Lord Krishna and end with the death of Kansa. The total event is full of fun.”

An organiser said, “All the artistes are prepared both physically and mentally to showcase their talent in the popular Dhanu Yatra. Today, saint Narada will be seen advising King Ugresena to solemnize his daughter Devaki’s marriage with Basudev. Saint Garga will also be seen advising King Ugrasena to conduct their marriage without delay. Following the advice, King Ugresena will be seen solemnizing the marriage of Devaki and Basudev in the absence of Prince Kansa.”

It is learnt that around 3,000 artistes of 120 cultural troupes from across the country have participated in the festival. However, Kansa is the central attraction of the Dhanu Yatra.

Also Read | Dhanu Sankranti: Know Significance And Culture Associated With This Auspicious Day