Maharashtrians can sense a palpable excitement in the air as Govindas across the state on Monday began celebrations of the much awaited Dahi Handi festival, with the slogan 'Bol Bajrang Bali Ki Jay' ringing with full enthusiasm.
The celebration mood amongst the mandals across Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Dombivali, Pune and Navi Mumbai has doubled after the Supreme Court suspended the Bombay High Courts's order – which had restricted the age of the Govindas participating to 18 years and above only – and allowed the participation of children from above 12 years of age in the festival. The first Dahi Handi in the city was smashed in the Madhav Wadi region in Dadar east at 10:00 am
Krishna temples across Mumbai have been decorated with lights.
Krishna Janmashtami was celebrated at midnight at the Iscon temple in Juhu, attended by thousands of worshippers. Several celebrities including actors Shilpa Shetty and Vivek Oberoi, along with the family members, also worshipped at the temple. Meanwhile, celebrities like Shivani Dandekar, Isha Sharvani, Gracy Singh, Raani Mukherjee, Dharmendra, Rohit Shetty, and Ajay-Atul, among others, have also geared up to rock the festival.
Baban Umasare, a govinda from Nanaate village of Ratnagiri's Dapoli town died after falling from the fifth layer of the pyramid, while cracking the handi.
The number of Govindas injured in during Dahi Handi festival celebration on Monday at various places in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai has risen 92. Until now, 20 injured have been discharged, while 72 people are being treated at Nair, Sion and KEM hospital.
One Govinda died in Thane
Rajendra Ambekar, a member of Govinda mandal died of heart attack in Thane, while dancing with other members of the group. Ambekar fell down due to dizziness and was taken to the Thane Civil Hospital, but he was declared dead. Rajendra Ambekar (49), belonged to Sai Sadan Govinda Mandal of Lalbaug. The mandal had come to Vartaknagar area of Thane. Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik declared the immediate help of Rs 2 lakh to his family members.
40 Govindas injured
According to the BMC's Disaster Management Cell, 40 Govindas in the city have been injured so far. 12 of the injured are being treated in KEM, one in Nair Hospital, five in Sion Hospital, while two have been admitted in other hospitals. Three of the five people admitted in Sion hospital have been discharged. 28 of these have minor injuries while one of them was brought in with severe head injuries.
Watch the Dahi Handhi Celebration live:
Watch: 'Dahi Handi' celebrations in Mumbai
The key attraction of the festival is going to be the Dahi Handi organised by NCP MLA and Minister Jitendra Awhad, who has been organising the celebration for years. Ahwad's 'Sangharsh Prathisthan' has declared a price of Rs 25 lakh for a 10 layer pyramid, Rs 15 lakh for a nine layer pyramid, and Rs 1 lakh for an eight layer pyramid.
Along with this, a separate Dahi Handhi has been organised for women, with a price of Rs 7 lakh for a seven layer pyramid.
Festival related injuries
However, it's not all joy and celebration. Hospitals across Mumbai are also gearing up for the Dahi Handi festival - to attend to those who will be injured during any accidents that may occur. Around 70 beds in the three main hospitals of the Municipal Corporation and JJ Hospital have been reserved for these injuries. Fifteen to 20 beds have also been reserved in KEM, Nair and Sion hospitals, and a team of 25 doctors is on stand by to attend to such cases.
Since Janmashtami and the Dahi Handi festival are grand events attracting large crowds, Mumbai's entire police force will be on duty to help tackle any kind of tension that could potentially arise. Therefore,the leaves of all policemen have been cancelled. Over 30,000 policemen will be on bandobast duty on Monday.
US Consulate Mumbai celebrating Dahi Handi
The Dahi Handi festival has always been an attraction for foreigners, and therefore, this year as well, more than 50 tourists from England and America will be visiting Thane to experience the celebrations. US Consulate Mumbai also made its very first attempt to celebrate Dahi Handi this Janmashtami!