Drum Beats Wake Up Mumbai, Govindas Seek Pot of Luck

Mumbai, Sep 2 (IANS): Mumbaikars woke up to beating of drums on Janmashtami Thursday as Govindas got together at their venues to strategise and form human pyramids to reach 'dahi handis' -- or pots of curd and luck -- suspended high.

With huge prize money at stake, Govindas in Panchpakhadi area of Thane aimed to break the Spanish team's world record of a nine-layer pyramid, and planned to make a 10-tier pyramid for the dahi handi - a popular sport associated with Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna.

With rain playing hide and seek, preparations were affected Thursday morning. "But then, the sun shone brightly and we breathed a sigh of relief," said Monu Patil, a Govinda, as the participant in the human pyramid making is called, from suburban Borivli.

With most Govinda groups still strategising their plan of action, a small group at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai became the first in Mumbai to break the handi.

"We aimed at celebrating the festival in a safe manner. We tried to keep the handi at a manageable level as we did not want to risk the lives of any of our Govindas," said a participant from the group.

The Govinda group from Dadar closely followed in breaking the handi. It had women Govindas too.

"We have been practising for two months for 3-4 hours every night to get used to the human pyramids," Patil said.

Preparations for dahi handi are on a high this year, with several places offering a whopping prize money of Rs.25 lakh (around $53,000).

The celebrations were at their peak at Thane, Worli, Malabar Hill, Dadar and Borivli, and will continue till 5:30 p.m.

Special festivities for children are also being held on the occasion across the city.

Already crores of rupees are riding on the Govindas.

Dahi handi is the celebration of the spirit of Lord Krishna, who loved eating curds and butter and broke earthen containers to get these.

An earthen pot containing a mixture of milk, dry fruits and purified butter is hung around 20-30 feet high in the air with the help of a rope.

Enthusiastic young men form a human pyramid by standing on top of one another, trying to break the pot. Onlookers throw water on the young men to prevent them from doing so.

Breaking of the pot is followed by prize distribution. Devotees believe the broken pieces of earthen pot keep away mice and negative influences from their homes.

Devotees were seen thronging Krishna temples to worship the lord on his birthday. Most Krishna temples will celebrate the Krishna-janma (birth of Lord Krishna) at midnight with devotion and fervour.


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Title: Drum Beats Wake Up Mumbai, Govindas Seek Pot of Luck

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