Dhanu Yatra 2009 news:Transform “Dhanu Yatra” to an International festival

December 4, 2009 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

Following is a report from the orissadiary.com:

Dear Mr. Patnaik,
We are all aware of the Bargarh “Dhanu Yatra” that is observed for eleven days (preceding Pausha Poornima the full moon-day of Pausha in December-January). This festival showcases the spectacular extravaganza the “Dhanu Yatra”.

“Dhanu Yatra” is a theatrical presentation of “Krishna Leela” enacted to bring the old myth alive on locations from the marriage of Devaki with Vasudeva till the death of Kansa as described in our cultural scriptures. The entire episode is re-enacted, blow by blow in the Bargarh “Dhanu Yatra” festival.

Moreover, the natural features of Bargarh region totally conforms that of the location as described in Puranas and the scenes are enacted at different places instead at one place. The city of Bargarh is treated as Mathura. On the outskirts of Bargarh is the river Jeera, to serve as river Yamuna, on the other bank of which is a small village Ambapali to become Gopapur. Even there is a mango groove to serve as Vrindavan and a pond as Lake Kalindi. A gorgeously decorated high rise stage in the heart of Bargarh city is erected to serve as the Durbar of Kansa. A live elephant is engaged for the royal transport. A chariot is made for Akrura’s visit to Gopa to bring Krishna and Balaram to Mathura. In addition, all other scenes are enacted on the natural settings. This festival carries a high-valued message on humanity and spirituality, that is, wins of “Dharma” over “Adharma”.


I have been following the news of Bargarh Dhanu Yatra-2010 very closely. As reported in various news papers the ministry of tourism said efforts would be made to make this festival entertaining and attractive to attract foreign tourists (1). I am very much skeptical about this. What the govt. is doing to attract tourists from all part of India and foreign countries?  As per my access nothing much is happening in this front. I would like to highlight following points to make this festival attractive; so that, it can be an international festival.

1. Is the govt. putting enough effort for advertising this unique festival? The Odisha govt. should take proper steps for advertising “Dhanu Yatra” in national and international print and electronic media. This will attract foreign tourists and tourists from all corner of our country.

2. I have not seen any special web site for Bargarh “Dhanu Yatra”. By a little bit of goggling I found few links of Bargarh district web site (bargarh.nic.in/) that writes about Bargarh “Danu Yatra”. Why there is no special web-site for such a great festival? It is necessary to have an e-portal dedicated to “Dhanu Yatra”. It should contain all the information about “Dhanu Yatra”. In addition, it should provide all the necessary information for tourists like hotel information, information on nearest tourist centers etc. If we want “Dhanu Yatra” to be an International festival like “Rath Yatra” we must share information about this spectacular festival with all corners of the world.

3. It is said that more than 14 places of the festival would be decorated in organizing different cultural activities. There are reports that Ambapali (Gopapur) is getting only Rs 50, 000 to organize the festival which is not enough (2). In this context, much more investment is required to transform “Dhanu Yatra” to an international festival.  I hope the state tourism department will look in to this matter immediately. To make this festival world famous, proper investment is required like it is happening in other states like Kerala and Rajasthan.

4. The govt. must organize light-music shows during this festival. This whole region is famous for its unique cultural heritage (songs and dances). Who will forget the famous songs like Rangabati, Panbala Babu, Dalkhai, and Rasarkeli etc? Organizing a light music show will help this region to showcase its cultural-vastness in front of the whole world.

5. It is important to remember that Bargarh “Dhanu Yatra” is the World’s largest Open Air Theater (OAT). This festival must be broadcasted in various national and international channels. Such festivals are very uncommon and we are fortunate that it is happening in our state. As “Dhanu Yatra” is World’s largest Open Air Theater (OAT) a branch of National School of Drama (NSD) can be opened in Bargarh. It will further enhance the cultural activities (viz. Ghumra, Sambalpuri dance, drama, music and movie) in the entire region. This will definitely boost the tourism of the state and impact the socioeconomic status of this area.

“Dhanu Yatra” is the World’s largest Open Air Theater (OAT). It has all the potential to become a world famous festival like “Rath Yatra”. I sincerely, hope that the Odisha govt. will take all the necessary step to make “Dhanu Yatra” an international festival. Especially, this is very important as Bargarh gears up for the silver jubilee celebration of much awaited Dhanu Yatra (3).

Thanking you with best regards,




2. http://www.orissasambad.com/news_article.php?id=12059

3. http://www.dailypioneer.com/216751/Briefly.html

Dr.Sanjib Kumar Karmee, PhD
Biocatalysis and Organic Chemistry group
Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology
Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL Delft,
The Netherlands

Entry filed under: Dhanu Jatra, Kosli Culture.

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