Photographer's Note

India celebrated the Hindu festival "Janmashtami" yesterday, marking the birth of arguably India’s most loved God Lord Krishna also known as Govinda, with much pomp and splendour. The birth of Krishna is in itself a transcendental phenomenon that generates awe among the Hindus and overwhelms one and all with its supra mundane happenings.

The Janmashtami celebration of Mathura and Vrindavan, the places where Sri Krishna had spent his life, are very special. On this day, temples and homes are wonderfully decorated and illuminated. Night long prayers are offered and religious mantras are sung in the temples. In other places, the day is celebrated with dramatic play Ras Lila and Dahi Handi.

Dahi Handi marks the mischievous and playful behaviour of Lord Krishna. According to Hindu mythology, Krishna along with his friends, known as govindas, formed a human pyramid to break an earthen pot filled with butter hanging from an elevated rope. Amid chants of “Govinda ala re” (Govinda is coming), Mumbaikars celebrated the ‘dahi hand i’ on Janmashtami day. The ‘Govindas’ form human pyramids and stand on top of one another, attempting to break clay pots filled with butter or curd tied to ropes even as their efforts were thwarted by water splashed on them by those gathered around. Hundreds of ‘ Govinda mandals (groups)’ participate in the festival at various places in the metropolis where human pyramids were formed to reach the pots and win cash prizes. The festival is inspired by the mythological tale of Lord Krishna’s boyhood trick of stealing butter from a suspended earthen pot.

If you are wondering what’s going on in the picture, you can check the Workshop to see a Govinda pyramid in formation.

Epilogue : Notwithstanding the fact that every year, there are accidents when the human pyramid collapses & the govindas fall down either to death or incur serious injuries....enthusiasm to create higher & higher pyramids grows unabated.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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