Celebration is homage to the rich cultural heritage of Badakusasthali village

BERHAMPUR: Holi is being celebrated through a 12-day-long festival of traditional folk dance and theatre at Badakusasthali village in Ganjam district.

This unique biennial festival is being celebrated at this village since more than 120 years. It is 61st biennial celebration of the festival this year. The celebrations started in the village a head of Holi from February 24. It would continue till Friday. This festival is named ‘Radhakanta Jatra'.

The president of the managing committee of this festival, Bighneswar Sahu said this celebration is homage to the rich cultural heritage of Badakusasthali village.

Badakusasthali has a place in the cultural heritage of the country. It has since centuries proved to be cradle of several folk art forms of south Orissa. Great folk dance guru, Padmashri Bhagaban Sahu hailed from this village.

The Ranapa, Jodi Sankha, Bagha Natcha, Chadheya Nata, Bagha Nacha troupes of this village have enthralled audiences throughout the world.

So, every alternate year the inhabitants of this village become hosts of folk dance and folk theatre groups of other areas to keep alive the cultural tradition of south Orissa. For the performances stages are erected in front of the small Radha Krishna temple in the village. During the festival, every night the deities come out of the temple to take part in this colourful celebration of Holi.

The folk performers display their skills throughout the night as an offering to the deities and to entertain the audience.

The audience includes inhabitants of Badakusasthali village and enthusiasts of traditional folk art forms from all over Ganjam district.

Troupes of ‘Bharat Lila', ‘Pala', ‘Daskathia', ‘Ghudki', ‘Gahana', ‘Radha Prem Lila', ‘Prahlad Natak' etc are now camping in the village to take part in this festival of folk art. This year two troupes of Prahalad Natak and six troupes of Bharat Lila are participating in this festival.

The performers enjoy their show in this village as all families in this village have folk dance performers or are promoters of folk art forms.

“Only an artist understands the emotions of fellow artists which is the brand identity of this Radhakanta Jatra,” Mr Sahu said.