Safety takes priority in Mumbai's Dahi Handi celebrations

As Mumbai gears for Dahi Handi, safety also a concern for organisers, participants.

Mumbai: With one of Mumbai's most vibrant event of the year- Dahi Handi, taking place today on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami, many organisers have geared up to priortise safety of people taking part in a pyramid formation.

Making human pyramids to break an earthen pot filled with butter or curd and hanging from a significant height has been the traditional method of observing Krishna Janmashtami in Maharashtra. The tradition popularly referred to as 'Dahi Handi' festival has also led to many injuries in past, owing to large height of pyramids and negligible safety measures.

However, following the court order limiting the height of human pyramids and government's direction to ensure the safety of participants, organisers are focusing on celebrating the festival in a more safe and secure manner.

Avinash, one of the participants of a human pyramid group said, "We are practising for last one month and are working hard for it. We always keep the security factor in mind and tie the one on the top with a safety belt."

He also said that the court's decision was little disheartening and they will be limiting the height of Dahi Handi as per the rules.

"We normally form a seven-tier human pyramid and the rest is on the organisers what limit they set", he said.

Rupes Parab, an office bearer of a Dahi Handi organiser group also said that they always prioritise the safety of participants.

"Our's is a zero accident celebration. This is our 15th year in this and there have been no mishaps reported. We used to make a seven stored human pyramid but since government's order has come, we're a bit upset," he added.

Explaining what safety measures they have incorporated, he said, "For the safety of the participants, we have insured everyone."

The Bombay high court had fixed the height of human pyramids to be not more than 20 feet. The order has however been challenged in Supreme Court by various organisations on different legal grounds.

As per the Hindu calendar, Lord Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, was born on the eighth day of the month of Bhadra. The day mostly falls in the months of August or September as per the Western calendar.

The festival is celebrated by offering prayers to Lord Krishna. An idol of infant Krishna over a beautifully decorated swing is often the centre of festivities with dance and music performances and Dahi Handi competition being organised at different places.

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