Lord Krishna’s grew up in Vrindavan to be a cowherd boy, who loved dairy so much, he’d steal into other people’s homes for it. The villagers would keep their pots of curd and cream tied high up the ceiling, so Krishna wouldn’t reach it. But he found a way around it too! He would gather some of his other shepherd friends and together they’d form a human pyramid to allow Krishna to clamber up and break open the earthen pots so that they may all eat.
Each year, some regions across India , especially Maharashtra recreate this part of Lord Krishna’s life to commemorate Krishna Janamasthami (Birth day of Lord Krishna) . This celebration is very pompous and warrants a visit to Mumbai, where youngsters practice for days to be able to crack the dahi handi. An earthen pot filled with yogurt is tied high up. All the boys in the neighbourhood make a human pyramid, not unlike the one Lord Krishna is said to have made, and gather under the handi (earthen pot).
They then maintain balance, as one of them climbs up and breaks the pot. To make this task a tad harder, the non-participants and the womenfolk throw water at the participants. Such is the craze for this event in Maharashtra that there are cash prizes announced for the winners of a successful dahi handi, these prizes go upto INR 1 lac even! Ala Re Ala, Govinda Ala (Lord Krishna has come!) is a Marathi cheer rendition to help the boys climb up and break the handi.
Dahi Handi on Janmashtami isn’t a mere ritual or a celebration it is an emotion for many across the country. But the Dahi Handi holds special importance in Mumbai – definitely not to be missed!
With time the whole event has its own slogan Govinda Aala Re!