Dhanu Yatra: World’s biggest open-air theater to celebrate victory of good over evil

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With India’s Independence on 15th August 1947, people from every nook and corner of the Country celebrated their Independence; Bargarh was surely not an exception. To remember the Independence of India for all time to come began the World’s biggest open-air theatre – Dhanuyatra, at Bargarh in 1948.


The significance of the 11 days long celebration dates back to the celebration of Indian Independence and victory over unjust British rule showing the victory of Lord Krishna, who personifies truth, justice and righteousness over Kansa who personifies arrogance and wickedness.


Considered the house of rich culture treasures, Bargarh provides a warm and religious experience to the thousands of visitors to witness ‘Kans Vadh’ in World’s biggest open air theatre in Odisha.


Spreading over few miles, the town becomes the epic town of ‘Mathura’ to host the episodes of ‘Kans Vadh’ (killing of Kans’ by his nephew Lord Krishna) or better known as ‘Dhanu Yatra’ amongst the Odias. The festival is celebrated with much fun and frolic and the unique ‘Dhanu Muan’ a special delicacy made of sweetened rice flakes is offered to the Lord Jagannath before being relished by the natives of Odisha.


Unique Celebration:


‘Dhanu Yatra’ is celebrated during the month of Pausa (December) according to the Hindu Calender with much pomp and show in Bargarh and its adjacent towns. During the 11 days long festival, the entire Bargarh town dramatically becomes ‘Mathura Puri’ as perceived to be 5000 years back. Not only the town, but also its adjacent villages, rivers and buildings are given classical identity as was in the age of ‘Mahabharata’. The town is so well decorated as per the traditional fervor that people seem to go back to the thousands of years with the help of a time machine. The echoing sounds and vibration of drums, bugles and Sahanai transports people into a mystic land away from the contemporary modern world.


The drama starts with the enactment of the grand wedding of Devaki and Vasudev, birth of Krishna and finally concludes with Kans death. Maharaj Kans- the demon king, the central character of the drama, rides in a decorated elephant goes for Nagar Parikrama every morning and regardless of identity, people bow before the King. The major attraction is the Maharaja imposing fine on Business establishments, Government Departments etc for violating the rules. In addition the King holds a ‘darbar’ to address the grievances made by His subjects, reprimands and also gives award to officials. However, all the episodes of the festival takes place in 14 different places of the town making it the largest open air theatre in the World, which provides the festival a unique identity.


With Dhanu Yatra on 15th December 2014, the stage is all set to celebrate this unique festival from 6th January to 16th January 2015 at Bargarh. Therefore it’s time to book your tickets and experience this age old traditional event at its best.


Reaching Bargarh


By Air: Nearest Airport is in the state capital Bhubaneswar, from where either one can travel by road or by train.


By Rail: From Bhubaneswar it is 319 kms with stopover at very few places.


By Road: From Bhubaneswar it is 348 kms and one has the privilege to stop and enjoy the local delicacies and of course the nature.




The message that the 11 days long famous festival gives is the ultimate win of good over evil.

– Special delicacy: Dhanu Muan found during the celebration.
– Odisha Handlooms: Sambalpuri dress materials and sarees, Sonepur Pattas, cushion covers, bed spreads, antiques etc.