Rain turns spoilsport for Dhanuyatra fairs in Odisha

Unrelenting rainfall over the past 48 hours has cast a somber shadow on the 76th edition of the Dhanuyatra festival in Bargarh, leading to a noticeable decline in attendance. The adverse weather conditions have severely impacted the Pallishree and Handicraft Mela, hosted in a field beneath the Jeera bridge, as tents were inundated, causing substantial damage to stocks and resulting in significant losses for Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and smaller vendors.

Commencing on Monday night, the incessant downpour persisted until Tuesday afternoon, dissuading potential customers from venturing to the outskirts of the town where the event is situated. The Pallishree Mela, traditionally organized at the George High School Field in the heart of Bargarh town until 2020, was relocated to the Jeera Bridge last year to alleviate traffic congestion. However, vendors, discontent with the decision, now claim that their concerns have been ignored by the district administration and the organizing committee.

The Meena Bazar, an integral part of the festival held at the George High School field, also fell victim to the rain as large sections of the venue were submerged on Wednesday morning. Despite efforts to drain the water in the afternoon, the fairgrounds transformed into muddy patches, creating difficulties for both vendors and visitors to navigate the area.

The festival’s open-air stages, typically drawing large crowds, witnessed a significant drop in attendance. Even the Raj Durbar, a spectacle featuring an epic drama that usually captivates a substantial audience, experienced a decline in numbers and engagement due to the persistent rain on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Vendors have raised concerns about the festival’s future participation, citing the lack of attention to their grievances by the district administration and the organizing committee. The unexpected weather has cast a pall over the usually vibrant Dhanuyatra festival, leaving organizers and participants grappling with the aftermath of the unprecedented rains.

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