'Dahi-handi' celebrated with gusto in Maharashtra, 24 'Govindas' injured in Mumbai
Mumbai, August 19, 2022
After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, Krishna Janmashthami and "dahi-handi" were celebrated with religious fervour and gusto all over Maharashtra on Friday, though at least 24 "Govindas" were injured in Mumbai.
The celebrations started at midnight last night with thousands of devotees joining the prayers, aartis, and bells heralding the birth of infant Balgopal at scores of Krishna temples in and around Mumbai.
These included famed ones like ISKCON temples at Juhu and Chowpatty, the Shri Krishna Pranami Temple at Kalbadevi, the Guruvayoor ShreeKrishna Temple in Navi Mumbai, and many other smaller little known places of worship dedicated to Lord Krishna.
In the morning, it was the turn of hundreds of "Govinda" groups - both all-boys or all-girls troupes - moving around the city to scores of "dahi-handi" events to celebrate Lord Krishna's fascination for curds and butter.
The youths formed tall pyramids, ranging from modest four to dizzying nine or 10 tiers to reach the "handi" (pot) hanging at the top, smash it with a coconut, and savour the treat of fresh curds and butter trickling all the way down - akin to Lord Krishna who used to raid homes in Gokul in his childhood for the milk and curd in them.
Thousands of people gathered at various grounds, chowks, roads or societies watching the Govinda gangs zealously eyeing the "dahi-handis" - and also the accompanying cash prizes, ranging from Rs 100,000 to Rs 25,00,000 for the winning group - and even a promise of a foreign trip for setting a world record.
Dignitaries including Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and political leaders of various parties, attended some of the celebrations.
Some organisers had invited prominent Bollywood and Marathi film stars to attend and perform at their events, along with other artistes, affording a dance and musical extravaganza at several venues.
The state government has announced an insurance cover of Rs 10 lakh for each "Govinda" besides free treatment for those who fall and suffer injuries, plus compensation.
Till 5 p.m., around two dozen "Govindas" fell from various levels while forming the pyramids and around five are still in hospital.
Similar enthusiastic Janmashthami and "dahi-handi" celebrations were held in Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Pune, Nagpur, Kolhapur and other places across Maharashtra amid tight security.