Dhanu Yatra

Dhanu Jatra or Dhanu Yatra is a drama festival celebrated in Western Odisha based on the mythological story of Krishna, and his demon uncle Kansa. Nowadays this play is being performed in many places across Western Odisha, the most famous and oldest place being Bargarh [1] It is about the episode of Krishna and Balaram's visit to Mathura to witness the ceremony of 'Bow' organised by their mama (maternal uncle)Kansa or Kamsa. The play starts with the dethroning of emperor Ugrasen by the angry prince Kansa over the marriage of his sister Debaki with Vasudev, and ends with death of Kansa, and Ugrasen restoring back to become the King.

The main municipality area turns into the historical town of Mathura Nagari, river Jeera turns into Yamuna, Ambapaali village (now a ward - part of Bargarh municipality) becomes Gopapura. A Pond by the side of Jeera river in Ambapali becomes the Kalindi Lake of the mythology. Since 2005, Nishamani School Ground has been used as the Rangamahal - Cultural stage of the festival. There are many other towns/ villages of western Odisha, where this drama enactment is done in recent years, following the success and popularity of the Bargarh stage. The notable places are Thuaapaali, Remanda

The daily vegetable market inside the heart of the town becomes the main stage of the festival. Temporary stage is built up using bamboo, cloth and other decorating materials. The cement concrete roof of market shops works as main platform. cultural troops, perform here in presence of King Kansa, invited guest and eager audience ranging from children to old people. There is the historical place of starting point, at the rear area of the daily market, where the holy mast is erected few days before the actual festival begins. Historically this place has been used by "Sanchaar" dance [3] form performers. It is a declining and going extinct form of dance. Only handful old performers of this dance form are left, who still come every year to perform. This dance goes on throughout out the night to keep the visitors of the villages engaged with entertainment, question answers etc.

Nearby village Ambapaali is rendered as Gopapura, during the festival. Villagers paint their houses to the themes of the mythology, hand drawings on walls showing various stories of Krishna. Wall writing of poetic stanzas are quite common on almost all walls of the village.