Mumbai, Aug 24 (UNI) The festival of Dahi Handi, coinciding with the Gokulashtami, was celebrated with great religious fervour and enthusiasm with Govinda teams commuting across the city to secure huge prize money by breaking ''Matkas'' (earthen pots).
The Govindas form human pyramids of eight to ten tiers to break the ''Dahi Handis'', containing a mixture of milk, dry fruits and ghee, and hung at a considerable height. They have to face water cannons from the onlookers who create hurdles in their efforts.
Traditionally ''Dahi Handis'' are held as part of the Janmashtami celebrations to rejoice the birth of lord Krishna.
In recent times, political parties vie with each others to organise ''Dahi Handis'' in Maharashtra offering huge prize money, ranging between Rs five lakh to 12 lakh. Adding colour to the glittering festive mood are Bollywood stars who throng such venues and egg the Govindas on in breaking the mud pots.
''Govinda Ala Re Ala'' chants rent the air even as the Govindas form pyramids and strategise their final goal.
There are more than 250 registered Dahi handi mandals in the city and adjoining Thane district. This year the event has also attracted a Spanish woman group who participated in one of the competitions.
The festivity was held amid a tight vigil by the police which even videographed the performances to avoid any untoward incidents in the wake of serial blasts in various cities including Bangalore and Ahmedabad.
'Gorakhanath' a Mahila Dahi-Handi Pathak (Women Dahi-Handi organisation) from Kurla also makes five-tier human pyramid and earns good prize money every year.
UNI ST RN/VK RP CS1520