Dahi Handi set to be celebrated in Maharashtra after Covid-induced break
Representational Image I Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar

Dahi Handi, which is part of Krishna Janmashtami festival, is likely to be celebrated on a grand scale across Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai and its neighbouring areas, on Friday after a pandemic-induced gap of two years.

As part of the festival, youngsters (called Govindas), dressed in colourful attire, make human pyramids to reach an earthen pot containing buttermilk suspended mid-air, and break it. It symbolises victory through unity.

The festival is celebrated on a large scale in Mumbai metropolitan areas.

The Maharashtra government had last month announced that there would be no restrictions on celebrating religious festivals, including Dahi Handi and Ganesh Chaturthi, this year. In the last two years, the celebrations were hampered due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

On Thursday, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announced in the state Legislative Assembly that the government has decided to accord adventure sport status to Dahi Handi.

The adventure sport tag will allow young participants of Dahi Handi events to apply for government jobs under the sports quota.

Participants or their families will be provided with compensation in case of fatal or other injuries suffered by the players during the formation of human pyramids, the CM said on the eve of the festival.

In case of unfortunate death of a participant during the formation of human pyramids, his or her kin would get Rs 10 lakh as compensation from the state government. A player suffering serious injuries would receive Rs 7 lakh, while one with fractures would be paid Rs 5 lakh, he said.

The state government would also bear the medical treatment cost of 'govindas' (participants) in case they suffer injuries, Shinde said.

The festival sees groups of 'govindas' moving around in cities and vying with each other in breaking Dahi Handis and winning prizes.

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