Danda Nata, also known as ‘Danda Jatra’, is one of the most ancient forms of histrionic art of Orissa
. It is mainly a ritual dance performed during Chaitra Parva Festival in the month of April. Danda Nata commences from Chaitra Purnima and continues till the Pana Sankranti (Vishuva Sankranti) day. It is a blend of dance, music and dramatics together with religions and social reformation.
Danda Nata is dedicated mainly to Lord Shiva, the king of dancers and histrionic arts - Nataraja. It also invokes Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesh, Goddess Durga and Goddess Kali.
Dhol (double-sided drum) and Mahuri (wind instrument like
Shehnai) are the accompanying instruments of this dance form. Other instruments used only in sequences of god characters are Ghanta (bell metal disc), Sankhu (conch-shell), Kahali (clarion) and Jhanja (brass alloy clappers).