Spanish flavour for ‘dahi-handi’ festival this year

August 19th, 2011 - 1:50 am ICT by IANS  

Govinda Mumbai, Aug 19 (IANS) This year’s popular ‘dahi-handi’ festival next week will have a dash of Spain in the celebrations that attract millions of youth, including girls, all over the state.

For the first time, the Spanish group Castellers de Villafranca, which holds a world record for building a 10-level human pyramid, will take part in the dahi-handi events in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, Aug 22, Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said here Thursday.

The 240-member team led by Miquel Ferret has been invited by Thane NGO Sangharsh and will compete with Mumbai’s well-known dahi-handi teams - Jai Jawan Mandal, Goregaon and South Region Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Mazagaon.

“This year, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation will promote dahi-handi in a big way as a tourism event by taking domestic and foreign tourists to view the top Govinda celebrations,” Bhujbal said.

They will be taken around various dahi-handi in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai which are known for building eight to nine level pyramids with huge prizes - upto Rs.10 million in some events - hanging to be grabbed.

The MTDC will now promote dahi-handi celebrations, linked to the birth and childhood of Lord Krishna, as major tourism event to attract both domestic and foreign tourists during August, considered a lean season on account of monsoons.

Incidentally, the Spain team had built 10-level human pyramids between 1998-2006.

Now, they would attempt to build a same level, or higher, during the next dahi-handi festivities here, said Sangharsh head and legislator Jitendra Awhad.

The first batch of the team arrived here Thursday and the second batch is expected here Friday. In the intervening period, they shall train some local “Govindas” to build high-level human towers.

Several millions of youngsters, including a few all-girls teams, take part in competitions to build human pyramids with huge prizes at stake.

The biggest dahi-handi events take place in Borivli, Goregaon, Worli, Ghatkopar and Mazagaon in the city and in Thane’s Panchpakhdi, Tembhinaka and Vartaknagar suburbs.

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