Mumbai: People around the nation geared up and celebrated the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami with much fervour. While some celebrated the festival on September 2 this year, in some parts it is being celebrated on September 3.
In a first of its kind initiative, a competitive 'Dahi Handi' festival was organised in Mumbai for the visually-challenged people on Janmashtami.
Several teams showcased their never-say-die attitude as they danced, sang and participated in the festival despite being visually-challenged. Teams of boys and girls were also seen forming pyramids, which is a ritual in every Janmashtami celebrations.
Expressing happiness on the occasion, Mahesh Mishra, a participant said, "The practice before participating in 'Dahi Handi' is a stress buster for us (visually-challenged people)."
"Participation by visually challenged people in large numbers will send out a message that we would not give up on leading our lives under any circumstance," he added.
The competition was organised by an NGO, Nayan Foundation that has been training the visually challenged people for 'Dahi Handi' Festivals since 2014.
In Maharashtra and nearby areas, on Shri Krishna Janmashtami, Dahi Handi, which is a team sport is organised widely and witnesses participants in huge numbers. It is usually celebrated on the day after Shri Krishna Janmashtami.
An earthen pot filled with dahi or yogurt is hanged at a higher level from the ground. Young boys form a human pyramid and make several attempts to reach and break the pot. It is a huge event and witnesses hundreds of people enjoying and cheering for their favourite teams. The participants are called Govindas or Govind Pathak.
The event is organised on the basis of the age-old legend of Lord Krishna stealing butter and milk during his childhood. As per the belief, when the makkhan was kept hidden from him, the natkhat Lord used to find innovative ways to find it.
The occasion of Janmashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna - the eight avatar of god Vishnu. It is known as Gokulashtami in several parts of the world. According to Hindu lunar calendar, it is observed on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Shrawana or Sawan. It overlaps with August and September of the Gregorian calendar. The festival of Shri Krishna Janmashtami is followed by Nandotsav - celebrating the occasion when Nanda Baba distributed gifts to the community in honour of Krishna's birth.
(With inputs from agencies)