Mumbai, Sept. 1 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): Mumbai celebrates Janmastami (Krishna Jayanti) with glamor. The swine flu panic, that gripped the country, has apparently turned even atheists into devoted devotees of Lord Krishna this year.
Stakes for ‘Dahi Handi’ competition have always been high in Mumbai, a city that perfectly embodies India’s religious fervour, but the grand prize money apparently announced this year is Rs 60 lakh, three times the price in 2009.
Young lads climbing up on each other, forming human pyramids to reach and break open clay pots filled with curd, which will be strung up high from buildings, is what these competitions are all about –the traditional Mumbai way of celebrating ‘Janmashtami’.
Also known as Krishna Jayanti, Krishnastami, or Gokulashtami, Janmastami is the celebration of the birthday of one of the three most popular and revered Hindu Gods, Lord Krishna.
[ReviewAZON asin=”1148454160″ display=”inlinepost”]Worshipped as one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, His birthday this year is to be celebrated on September 2; and in some places on September 1.
Even though few other Indian cities live up to the hype and the attention that Mumbai gets, Janmashtami is undoubtedly a national affair. Hindus across the country do their bit by flocking to Krishna temples, holding fasts, and reciting hymns and prayers.
The day is also a biggie for worldwide Hindu confederation–‘The International Society for Krishna Consciousness’ (ISKCON)— which is geared up with special arrangements at almost all of their centres and temples.
In the bustling city of Mumbai, every big ‘Dahi Handi’ competition is affiliated to a political party or a corporate honcho, the prize money being the attraction.
The higher the stakes, the larger the crowd, the greater the visibility.
Mumbai’s young ‘Govindas’, after intense practice sessions, are all set to be part it braving a thousand falls and injuries.
“I’ve seen my brothers do it for so many years and finally I will be part of it for the first time,” said 18-year-old Prakash who lives Dadar in central Mumbai — the site of some of the most popular 600 Govinda mandals spread across the city of 14 million.