Orissa holds world's largest open-air theatre festival

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Bargarh (Orissa), Dec 30 (ANI): The remote village of Bargarh of Orissa was transformed into the world's largest open-air theatre to depict and celebrate episodes from the life of the Hindu god Lord Krishna.

The festival, Dhanu Yatra, which is observed for eleven days, is a theatrical performance based on episodes from the life of Lord Krishna.

Bargarh has been re-created as the town of Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna, causing the town's million-odd inhabitants to literally live in mythological period of Lord Krishna.

The people not only dress up in styles dating back to the mythological times but different sites, settlements and even rivers are addressed by their classical names, adopted from the epic poem Mahabharata.

According to scholars, the origin of "Dhanu Yatra" is obscure. Some say it was very popular in the 18th century while others argue that it started in the 16th century.

This massive theatre, perhaps the largest open air theatre in the world in which an entire village and its outskirts turn into a virtual stage, draws lot of spectators. The festival is enacted over an area of 5 sq km.

"Ten to fifteen lakh tourists come here from Orissa and other parts of the country, and abroad to watch this play. The tourists say that this is the most unique theatre festival in the world, which they don't get to see elsewhere. During this festival, all the people of Bargarh and the adjoining villages become actors in this play," said Suresh Satpathy, a villager.

Meanwhile, district administration has left no stone unturned to make this event a grand success. The Dhanu yatra has been carried out with a budget of one million rupees.

"This year we have made all arrangements to ensure that Dhanu yatra gets better and better, so that more pilgrims and tourists visit this place to watch this play. We have tried to ensure that all the people of Bargarh take part in the festival simultaneously," said Binay Das, District Collector, Bargarh. (ANI)

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