Dhanu Yatra relates to the episode of Lord Krishna 's visit to Mathura to witness the ceremony of 'Bow' and eventually kill the Demon king Kansa is re-enacted in the form of a folk play on natural settings at Bargarh. The town of Bargarh becomes Mathura, the river Jira becomes Yamuna and the village, Amapalli on the other bank of the river becomes Gopa. Different acts of the Puranic descriptions are performed at their right places and the spectators move from place to place to see the performance. It is the largest open-air theatre of the World, spread over five km. radius with the largest cast as even the spectators are treated as characters. It starts from the 5th day of the bright half of Pausa with the marriage ceremony of Basudev & Devaki and ends on the full moon day with the death of Kansa.
Nuakhai is the most important social festival of Sambalpur. Generally it takes place during the month of August and September. Preliminary preparation of the festival starts 15 days before the occasion. The first grains of the paddy crop, cooked into various dishes are offered to the deities. There after the eldest member of the family distributes new rice to the junior members of the family. All the household articles are cleaned. People greet each other. It is a community festival celebrated by every Hindu family irrespective of caste creed and status.
Sitalashasthi is the Marriage Ceremony of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. The festival is observed in the month of June with pomp and ceremony at Sambalpur and is extended for a week. Pilgrims from the neighboring Districts and States of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar also participate in the festival. Lakhs of people congregate in this week-long festival, mostly in the month of June every year.
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