Culture of Bargarh
As of 2011 India census, Bargarh had a population of 83,651. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Bargarh has an average literacy rate of 76%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 57% of the males and 43% of females literate. 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Other than Oriya speaking people who form the majority, the town has a some Marwari community who have migrated and settled down. Within the Oriya speaking population, the major communities are Kuiltas, Dumals, Agharias, Bhulia/Meher, Teli etc. Kuiltas and Dumals are presumed to be an offshoot of the original Chasa(agrarian) community and is synonymous with the Khandayats of the coastal region. This is evident by the striking similarity of rituals and the gods they pray. Bhulias were migrated to and settled in this region by some rulers, but the exact time period is controversial. Agharias were migrated from the mughal empire of Agra for establishing a cultivator community during war when Kuiltas were assigned the duty of part-time Kshatriyas.
Oriya is the language for communication, official purposes and for education.
Dhanu Yatra: Bargarh is known for the annual festival, Dhanu Jatra which attracts lot of tourists worldwide. Dhanu Jatra or Dhanuyatra, celebrated every winter, is an open stage dramatisation of Krishna Leela with virtually the whole town as a stage. Spanning over a period of 11 days and a radius of 6 km, with the universal theme of ‘Triumph of Good over Evil’ . It depicts the mythological story of Krishna starting from marriage of his parents (Devaki and Basudev) till the death of Kansha, the evil king. For this whole period, Bargarh town turns into the mythological city of Mathura, Jeera river turns into Yamuna and Ambapali a ward of Bargarh Municipality turns into Gopapur with Kansha (played by a theatre artist) ‘ruling’ over it. This Festival is considered as World’s Largest open air theater played across 6 kilometers radius. Now Dhanuyatra had been declared as National Festival of India .
The Nuakhai or The Nabanna: The “Nuakhai” is a social festival of unity. This festival is observed among kith and kins during the month of Bhadraba. The appropriate date of the Nuakhai is just the day after the Ganesh Puja. It is a festival of harvest of crops. On this occasion the new grain after harvesting is first offered to the local deity and during this festival the people get themselves lost in merrymakings. Wearing new clothes, preparing delicious foods the people of this area celebrate this festival with enthusiasms. It is mostly an agricultural festival of Western Odisha.
Maa Shyama Kali Puja: Kali-puja is one of the big festivals at kali mandir road, Bargah when Goddess Maa Shyama Kali is worshiped on the occasion of dipawali and yagyans are organised. The big beautiful statue of Goddess Shyama kali is made up of alloy including 8 kind of metals. A new temple for the Goddess built recently is really an attraction point for the pilgrims. Beside the Kali temple, there are Sri Syameshwar Mahadev temple and Hanuman temple.
Baisakh Mela of Nrusinghnath: Nrusinghanath Jatra is another major festival of the district, celebrated in the religious site of Nrusinghanath where Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the form of Marjarakesari. Nrusinghanath is also a historical site which attests the religious synthesis of tribal people and non-tribal people; and among Saivism, Vaishnavism, Tantrism and Buddhism (Pasayat,2005:12-25).This mela is celebrated from Triyodasi to Purnima in the month of Baisakh at Nrusighanath Temple. It is celebrated on the occasion of Nrusingha Janma (Birth) and also known as Narsingh Chaturdashi Mela. There becomes a huge gathering of devotees on this occasion.
Ratha Yatra of Bhatli: The Cart Festival of Bhatli celebrated at Dadhibaman Temple of Bhatli on the Dwitiya Tithi of Asadha. On this day Lord Dadhibaman rides on the chariot and sets out on a journey to Mausima Mandir. The Lord stays in Mausima Mandir for 9 days and again on the Dasami of Asadha the return Cart Festival is celebrated. On this day the Lord returns to his temple. There becomes a huge gathering of devotees at Bhatli. This cart festival is said to have affinity with that of Puri. So it is famous in Western Orissa.
Shree Shyam Mandir Bhatli: Shyam Mandir located in Bhatli has many values. it is believed to be most popular Shyam Mandir after Khatu Shyamji. Pilgrims from whole of India visit the Mandir during Shyam Mahotsav.
Sital Sasthi of Barpali: The Sital Sasthi Yatra celebrated in Barpali on the day of Sasthi in the month of Jestha every year on the occasion of the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. There is a huge gathering of devotees at Barpali. It is a mobile yatra. Many folk dances, cultural programmes are organised which the people enjoy it at night. For the last few years it has also been celebrated in proper Bargarh town. It is the second biggest as per devotees after the Sambalpur Sital Sasthi Yatra.
Bali Yatra of Khuntpali: iThe Bali (Sand) Yatra is celebrated on the sand-bed of river Zeera at Khuntpali on the day of Kartika Purnima. On this occasion Lord Shiva is worshipped with all serenity on the sand-bed. During this many trade fares are held on the sand-bed at Khuntpali, AT/Po. Khuntpali, Tah/Dist. Bargarh.
Niranjanananda Yoga Sansthan, a yoga ashram associated with the yoga teaching institution Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, was established in the town in 2010. It conducts daily yoga sessions in mornings along with evening programs of chanting and meditation. The balijatra of khuntpali is one of the best festival of odisha.
Vasant Utsav of Beherapali: The Vasant Panchami is celebrated in Beherapali, a village near Sohela every year. The major attraction along with the worship of Saraswati Devi is the 3-day-long open-air drama performed by artists. Based on the historical story line of Gupta dynasty, the actors enact the King Vikramaditya, Kalidas and attacker Paschim Satrap and the villagers play the role of resident of Ujjain. Artists from different part of the state come to showcase their skill in the courtyard of King Vikramaditya. After the defeat and killing Paschim Satrap, the Vasant Utsav is celebrated with happiness. Many people come to witness the festival along with marvelous acting.
Jugar Jatra of Kuchipali: The jugar jatra of Kuchipali is one of the famous festivals of Bargarh district and Odisha. The festival is based on brotherhood and peace of mankind. It was started in the year 1985 and now it is the best and famous festival of Bargarh district. Large jugars are given to maa kali by devotees. Animals are generally killed in shakti upasana or the festival of kalipuja, durgapuja and others. But in jugar jatra of kuchipali jugars are given, which were made from khai (a product of rice) and gud (a product of sugarcane). Though jugar jatra is a great festival, but there is no need of police. All the safety security and smooth conduct of the festival is done by a volunteer group saptarshi swechhasevi sangathan.In th is festival the musalman are also participate. This festival commands the whole world to destroy enmity and make unity. It is also a platform for folk dance groups which are going extinct.
Jugar jatra is now not limited in Bargarh only – it is spread to Chhattisgarh and other neighbour states. Every year more than 200 jugars are coming from outside the district. In 2009 the silver jubilee of jugarjatra was observed. And from 2009 must a 21 khandi jugar (a large jugar equal to 21*one simple jugar) is given.