Dhanuyatra Mahotsava is a worldwide carnival, an exceptional mass open air moving theatre of unique sort exhibited in the remote corner of Bargarh district in Odisha. The culture of Dhanuyatra Festival got new dimensions, magnitude and extension in the last decade at the advent of Vikash Group of Institutions in the town of Dhanuyatra (Bargarh) in 2002. The students of different wings in this group of institutions put their pulsating feet performing extraordinary folk and classical dance forms (which were at the verge of departure and disappearance) on the Dhanuyatra stage before the open mass of audience or before King Kansa. A group dance performance on classical Odissi Bhajan on the main stage of Kansa in 2006 created a different pulsation and sensation in the festive audience and sketched the image of the training imparted by Vikash to the students on Indian Art and Culture. It was a different moment; a different exhibition of the students of Vikash amidst the experienced and professional dancers came from different parts of India to exhibit their dance forms. The students of Vikash are exploratory, investigative and adventurous. The Dhanuyatra is a festival of this town, the students are highly energized to add more colour to this festival through art and culture.
It is really exciting to carve the words here that the students of Vikash undertook the responsibility and started the mission ‘LETS SAVE ORIGINAL & TRADITIONAL ART & CULTURE’ in 2014. The students not only prioritized these original folk and classical dance forms in their school cultural programmes even they re-developed the original ‘Chausathi Yogini Nrutya’ (belong to 9th/10th century AD) of western Odisha and exhibited it on the Dhanuyatra both at Rangmahal and King Kansa’s palace winning the hearts of sea of audience.
Inviting foreign tourists to the festival and the participation of the tourists in this festival with the cultural items of their nations is the value addition towards globalizing this world famous open mass theatre. The Russian tourists visited in 2014 Dhanuyatra with their Russian Folk Dance performance on the stage mesmerized the audience. But the next day when the Russian performed the Sambalpuri Folk and Classical Odissi dances in Russian feet it was amazing, astounding and astonishing to behold. We saw a great cultural exchange platform for the people of Bargarh and tourists from Odisha. I feel elated to put my words that the students of Vikash were a part of this cultural exchange motion. I must thank the two Vikashites Arya Arunika Hota , Som Hota and their parents for their great commitment who are the conduit of this cultural exchange programme on the colourful occasion of Dhanuyatra.
If we shall have a small flashback, I shall make you recollect the motion started by the students of Vikash a few years back in 2006-2007 to make this Dhanuyatra Festival more prevalent, widespread and global. They started a Signature Campaign in a long scroll of paper to make it the longest scroll with maximum signatures so that they can knock the door of Guinness Book of World Record and place the festival as an International Event. They still undergo the mission to add signature from each audience and every visitor to add more pages to the long scroll.
The students of Vikash participated in the debut mission for the popularization of Dhanuyatra in the state capital Bhubaneswar on 18th and 19th December 2011 in which King Kansa went to take the blessing and had his worship in the sea beach at Puri accompanied by the students of Vikash who throbbed the occasion with classical odishi costume and dances. Vikashites contributed in this initial campaign for the globalization of this festival.
The way the students of Vikash contributed and they will contribute every year, Dhanuyatra is a platform an opportunity for the coming generations to rediscover the original artistic folk and classical art and culture and enhance the splendor of this programme so that the glory and fame of this fastival can be propelled to the nook and corner of the entire world.
Dasari Murali Krishna
Chairman, Vikash Group of Institutions