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Dhanu Yatra Festival 2024

by Nita Mishra

The grand ‘Dhanu Yatra’ festival, the largest open-air theater celebration, has made a triumphant return after a two-year break in Bargarh, Odisha. This vibrant festival, deeply rooted in Odisha’s culture, spans from  January 16, 2024 to January 25, 2024.  attracting numerous artists from 130 cultural troupes across the country.

The Dhanu Yatra spans 11 days, narrating the tale of Krishna’s birth, his childhood Leelas, the journey to Mathura, and the eventual demise of Kansa. Bargarh transforms into Mathura, with the Ambapalli village on the town’s outskirts becoming Gopapura, symbolizing Lord Krishna’s village. The river Jira, flowing in between, represents the mythical river Yamuna. This captivating drama unfolds across 14 open-air theaters

About the Dhanu Yatra Festival:

The Dhanu Yatra, an eleven-day annual extravaganza, places Bargarh firmly on the Cultural Map of India. Equivalent to the richness of Odishan heritage and culture, this open-air theater festival covers an expansive area of over 5 square kilometers, encompassing both a village and a town. The extensive cast involves virtually every villager, each playing a role dictated by King Kansa’s orders throughout the eleven days, ignoring the District Administration.

Dhanu Yatra Festival: Historical Background:

Originating in the aftermath of the 1947-48 harvesting season, the Dhanu Yatra symbolizes the joyous atmosphere following the end of British misrule. Celebrated annually, it kicks off on the 5th day of ‘Pousasukla’ and concludes on ‘Pousapurnima.’ For these 11 days, Bargarh town and its suburban areas, including Cement Nagar, Padhanpali, Jamurda, Tora, transform into the kingdom of KANSA – ‘The Mathura Nagari.’ The river Jeera becomes the mythical river Jamuna, and ‘Ambapali’ on the other side of the river transforms into ‘Gopapura.’

The previous Dhanu Yatra took place from December 31, 2019, to January 10, 2020. The subsequent year faced cancellation due to the Covid-19 threat. This year, another season was called off earlier after the executive committee unanimously decided to prioritize public safety amid Covid restrictions imposed by the State government.”

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