It was Gokulashtmi last week on 25th August’16. The festival commemorates the birth of Lord Krishna, also known as Govinda. He is recognized as the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The festival is basically a portrayal of Lord Krishna’s mischievous nature during his youth and his love for butter, curd, and sweets.
It was believed that Krishna was very fond of butter and he used to steal butter from people’s houses. As a way to keep him away from butter, the females of the house used to put butter in a handi and hang it in the air using a string. Krishna on the other hand, used to gather his friends, form a human pyramid and break the handi open.
Carrying forward the same rituals, the festival is celebrated across the country. Mumbai is considered to be the best place to experience it where you can witness dahi handis or clay pots filled with curd, butter and money hanging by a string from the buildings at almost every 200-300mts of distance. Various competitions are held at different places where groups of young boys or govindas, usually called as tolis come and compete with each other. Dahi handis are hung at a height of 30-40 feet and the different groups form human pyramids, some of them going up to seven to nine levels and try to break the handi open. The groups who successfully breaks it wins a trophy along with a cash prize.
The festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm, joy and devotion. Truly the courage and dedication of govindas are praiseworthy and I was fortunate enough to be here in the city of to witness the extravaganza.
*Nitika is witnessing this celebration, so cherished in the Mumbai Metropolis, for the very first time.