Posts filed under ‘Dhanu Jatra’
BARGARH: King Ugrasen, Kansa’s father, offering prayers at the Samaleswari temple and marching with his entourage to the ‘Durbar’ at Hatpada, is worried about marriage of his daughter Devaki. At this point of time Narad makes an entry and suggests marriage of Devaki with Basudev and the wedding is solemnised with grandeur at Ramji Mandir in Nayakpada in Bargarh.
Demon king Kansa is not happy with the marriage, but moves around atop a caparisoned elephant in a procession along with the newly-wed couple.Soon after Devaki and Basudev are lodged in a makeshift prison at Samaleswari Club at Taliapada after a divine voice warns Kansa of his death at the hands of Devaki’s eighth child. An enraged Kansa moves to his durbar. His durbar at Hatapada, where the act of dethroning of King Ugrasen and Kansa’s accession takes place marks the beginning of his tyrannical rule. In the evening, a huge colourful procession accompanied by folk dance and music reached Kansa’s ‘Durbar’ at Hatpada from Samaleswari temple. These acts were staged on the first day of the 63rd Dhanu Yatra on Friday.
Bargarh’s Dhanu Yatra, considered the largest openair theatre in Asia, is a 11-day affair. No form of hierarchy separates the commoner from the elite in this cultural extravaganza that would continue till January 10. The dramas, to be enacted at different platforms, would include ‘Krishna Leela’ and ‘Mathura Bijaya’.
It would conclude with the Kansa ‘badha’ at Mathura (Bargarh). The openair theatre, stretching more than five sq km, boasts of a cast in which every commoner plays a part. During the 11 days the demon king rules the town and even the district collector is not spared for any slip. The scene that attracts maximum crowd is the unique sight of Kansa moving all around Mathura atop a brightly decorated elephant along with his Mahamantri and soldiers. And anyone crossing his path gets the royal rap, no one is spared. What enlivens the whole drama is the demon King’s magisterial power. And all obey his dictates.
There is a deliberate attempt by the Government of Odisha to suppress the Kosli language and culture, alleged Kosal Kranti Dal (KKD) working president Baidyanath Mishra at a Press conference here on Wednesday.
He said teachers and para-teachers are being recruited to appease the minor ethic groups, including Bengali and Telugu, in the State whereas Kosli spoken by almost one and a half crore people is neither given official status nor is any step being taken for its growth due to a high degree of inferiority complex on the Government’s part.
Mishra said thousand of books in Kosli using Odia script have been published in different branches of Kosli literature, but the Government does not have any affirmative stance for promoting the rich literature. This “step-motherly attitude” towards Kosli, coupled with acute regional imbalance and other parochial considerations, has led to discontentment among the people concerned and a strong opinion to split the State.
“The recent activities of the Government and some NGOs have posed a threat to Kosli language and culture,” he alleged and called upon the people of ‘Kosalanchal’ to remain alert. The strategy of “Utkalisation of the Kosal areas” is a calculated one, but the Government has not been successful in the past nor would it be successful in future because of its ill motive as negative action would only bring negative result, he remarked.
Mishra was launching Kosli No-1, a music album brought out by Karan Raj and his young team. Congratulating all those involved in the project, he advised them to adopt the twin strategy of promotion and safeguard for their language and culture.
Editor of Paschimanchala Surama Mishra was the guest of honour on the occasion. Sagar Singh Manki, Ram Chandra Amat, Jai Singh Singh and Hrudanand Behera were among others present.
Thanks to Surendra Kumar Hota for the following pictures:
Bhubaneswar, Jan. 18: Maybe the white-clad Calcutta police should try out what “Kansa” is doing now in Bargarh in multicolour splendour to tame traffic rogues.
A moustachioed man decked out like an ancient king has been making the rounds of the town in western Orissa, sitting atop a caparisoned elephant and barking orders every now and then.
“ Hey, you! Stop, come here,” he beckons a truck driver on National Highway 6. The bewildered driver is fined Rs 500 for speeding and the potentate moves on with his colourful entourage.
A little later, he hauls up a businessman for keeping his premises untidy and orders him to pay Rs 100. The “transgressor” meekly obliges.
This is Kansa, the king who rules Bargarh-turned-Mathura during Dhanu Yatra, an annual theatrical extravaganza that re-enacts the story of the mythological tyrant who was eventually slain by his nephew, Lord Krishna.
Held around this time of the year, the 11-day yatra, possibly the world’s biggest open-air drama, turns the whole of Bargarh into a mobile stage.
While the town itself becomes the city of Mathura, the river Jeera symbolises Yamuna. Ambapali, located on the Jeera’s other bank, turns into Gopapura where Krishna was brought up. To be more precise, the story of Kansa, his death and the exploits of Krishna are enacted at 18 different locations in Bargarh and Ambapali during the yatra, which has become an integral part of western Orissa’s folk culture.
The uncle’s tragic end at the hands of Krishna, a symbolic victory of good over evil, notwithstanding, Kansa is the true hero of the yatra, his larger-than-life character keeping the audiences spellbound.
Striding across Bargarh like a colossus till his “death”, Kansa summons the high and mighty to his “durbar” and issues fiats that no one dares disobey. Even chief ministers have been known to do his bidding during the yatra, some discussing state matters with him.
In the early 1990s, the then chief minister, Biju Patnaik, flew down to Bargarh in a helicopter following summons from the demon king.
It is all good-natured fun. Even senior government officials play along with Kansa, lending a touch of reality to his aura. In the process, sometimes long-standing civic problems like garbage-clearing and erratic water supply in Bargarh get solved.
The man bringing Kansa alive on the Dhanu Yatra stage is a 38-year-old health department employee, Hrushikesh Bhoi, whose huge whiskers and boisterous laughter appear tailor-made for the character.
Making his debut as Kansa in 2008, Bhoi has gathered a fan following, much like his idol, Gopal Sahu, the policeman who played the character for over 22 years.
After each performance, Bhoi makes it a point to visit Puri to offer his apologies to Lord Jagannath for heaping calumny upon Krishna and conspiring to kill him during the yatra.
Dhanu Yatra, which was organised for the first time in 1948 to celebrate the country’s independence and the end of British rule that was often compared to Kansa’s tyrannical regime, is not just about drama.
It is also an occasion to showcase western Orissa’s kaleidoscopic culture, especially its dance forms, with the king himself playing the patron. Dance performances are held daily at his court during the yatra to regale visitors.
Kansa is dead, long live Kansa!
BARGARH: Curtains went up for the 11-day ‘Dhanu Yatra’, considered the biggest open air theatre of Asia, in Bargarh today.
With the central theme of this festival borrowed from the ‘Krishna Leela and Mathura Vijay’, the enactment on day one begins with wedding of his sister Devaki with Basudev besides Kansa’s accession to the throne and concludes with ‘Kansa Badha’ at the hands of nephew Lord Krishna.
After the marriage, a confident Kansa moves towards the Durbar of King Ugrasen, his father and dethrones him to capture the kingdom marking the beginning of his tyrannical rule. But the joy of marriage and the pride of his accession to the throne for the demon King is short-lived.
While he moves around atop a caparisoned elephant in a procession along with the newly-wed couple, a divine voice warns Kansa of his impending death at the hands of the eighth child born to Devi and Basudev. The warning is enough for Kansa to put his sister Devaki and her husband Basudev in jail.
Interestingly, the day one saw the scene shifting from Ramji Mandir in Talipada where celestial wedding of Devaki and Basudev is solemnised, dethroning and accession to the throne besides warning by divine voice at Hatpada and imprisonment of Devaki and Basudev at the makeshift prison at Radha Krushna Temple at Hatpada.
The entire Bargarh municipal limits, spread over 5 square km, turns into a stage and every citizen plays a role.
The geographical setting of Bargarh municipal limits also conforms to Mathura, where King Kansa ruled. The river Jeera represents the Yamuna. Ambapali village across the Jeera turns into Gopapur where Krishna is brought up. The festival which is a synthesis of stage, theatre and cinema is held for seven to 11 days preceding the Pousa Purnima.
Thanks to Mr.Surendra Kumar Hota for the following pictures:
The growing popularity of the famous Dhanu Yatra prompted the Government to launch a website on the annual festival here. Minister of Health and Family Welfare Prasanna Acharya inaugurated the website on Wednesday.
The web address is www.bargarhdhanuyatra.nic.in. The step taken by the Government in opening a website would act as a catalyst in furthering the Yatra into an international phenomenon. The Yatra, the biggest open-air theatre in the world, is an enactment of a portion of the Mahabharata epic. This year’s festival, which started on December 21, will culminate on Thursday with the symbolic death of Kamsa.
Maharaj Kans is unhappy after the death of Putna and other Asuras Gotipua dance of Puri being performed during Dhanu Jatra Folk artists of Punjab waiting to entertain mama Kans Folk artist of Punjab performing gidda Dance Artists of Karnatak performing Kuchipudi classical dance Byanga Kabi Susanta Mishra of M.Rampur (Kalahandi) reciting humorous poems infront of Kans