10 day fair and one of world's largest open air theater in Bargarh | Milaap

10 day fair and one of world's largest open air theater in Bargarh

Bargarh is a small town in the western part of Orissa, India. The town has been famous for organizing a 10 day fair called Dhanu Jatra in the month of December and January. The main attraction of the fair is an open air theater organized by the local administration that runs for the duration of the fair and shows mythological story of Lord Krishna and his demon uncle Kansa enacted in real time by the people. And as friends at Mahashakti foundation told me that it is not a simple theater but is actually the biggest open air theater of the world, I instantly planned my visit to the place. On a Sunday evening, within 2hours by train we reached Bargarh from Balangir. [caption id="attachment_6396" align="alignnone" width="737"] King Kansa sitting on his throne[/caption]It is said that in order to celebrate the freedom of India from British rule the labor class workers started this fair and Death of Kansa symbolized the end of colonial rule. It was the 66th year of the fair being celebrated and people had shown much enthusiasm for the fair. Thousands of people started gathering at the designated places for the fair by the evening.  The story of Maharaja Kansa, his death and different acts of Lord Sri Krisha are enacted in different places of the city which are divided into parts such as Mathura, Gokula and other places which have relevance to the story. It is not only that the play is enacted on the stage but the king Kansa would move in the city on an elephant as if he is the king of the city in the present time and people of the city would show obedience to him. Everyone obliges to the order of King Kansa and when those orders are not followed or the accepted work is not done, people do accept mild punishments as well. King Kansa would listen to the sorrows of the people and offer appropriate remedy for that while enacting in the play from the stage. The day I was there, the king Kansa ordered a representative of social development organization to donate blankets to the people so that they can come and stay in the ground where the theater was being organized. The representative humbly accepted the King’s orders. After moving around the city on an elephant from afternoon till evening, the king holds the discussion with his ministers and this is enacted in the play.[caption id="attachment_6397" align="alignnone" width="724"]Sambhalpuri Folk dance Sambhalpuri Folk dance[/caption]A lot of entertaining programs are also organized by the king to woo the people to his court. All in all the, the fair offers 10 days of joy and entertainment to the people of this town and to everyone who come here from across the state. It is also a huge opportunity for local businesses to make money. I saw a lot of self help groups from across the state showcasing their products in the fair market. I hope some of them would be getting huge market over here considering the rush of the people to the fair.[caption id="attachment_6392" align="alignnone" width="726"]Products being showcased by self help groups Products being showcased by self help groups[/caption][caption id="attachment_6391" align="alignnone" width="732"]Products being showcased by self help groups Products being showcased by self help groups[/caption]