Bargarh: The curtains came down on the world’s largest open-air theatre, the annual Dhanu Yatra, here with the traditional death of demon king Kansa and the coronation of Ugrasen on Friday. The 11-day festival began on December 31.
During the festival, this western Odisha town is transformed into the ancient kingdom of Mathura. According to the theatre’s tradition, Kansa begins his 11-day-rule over the town by dethroning Ugrasen, imprisoning Devaki and Basudev and hatching conspiracies to kill Krishna and Balaram. On the concluding day of Dhanu Yatra, Krishna and Balaram go to the demon king’s palace and kill him.
Bhubaneswar Prasad played the role of King Kansa this year, while Ayush Bhirtia essayed the role of Krishna and Ashuthosh Birtia that of Balaram. Also, over 3,000 artists from 120 cultural troupes participated in the festivities.
According to the organisers, the festival had strted in 1947-48 to celebrate India gaining independence. The convenor of Bargarh Dhanu Yatra Mahotsav Samiti, Sureswar Satpathy, informed, “The open air theatre is not only a place of entertainment but also a medium of spreading social message. The reign of Kansa symbolises the oppressive British rule of the and Ugrasen’s coronation denotes the beginning of democracy.”