Mock dahi handi in Mumbai today

City will host two events a week prior to celebration to help baffled govindas understand ‘adventure sport’ norms

Since the State government offered dahi handi an ‘adventure sport’ status on August 13, the dahi handi mandals and govindas say they are thoroughly confused about the new norms that are now mandatory to follow while they construct human pyramids on the occasion of Janmashtami. The festival falls on September 5 this year.

dahi handi
Representational pic

To clear the air, state minister for cultural affairs, Vinod Tawde, and city BJP chief Ashish Shelar have decided to organise a contest that will aquaint participants with adventure sport rules. Tawde’s event will be held today between 6 pm and 10 pm at a venue opposite Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana, Kandivli West. Shelar’s event is scheduled for 3 pm at Ground 2, Bandra Reclamation.

With just a week to go for the celebrations, these two events are being considered a live rulebook for govindas to follow.

According to organisers of Tawde’s event, the sport will be held under three categories. Men can erect pyramids that go up to six layers, while women will compete for five levels. The best performing team in each category will be judged on parametres that include number of players needed, time taken for construction and dismantling of pyramids, overall discipline and skill on display.

“The State government wants to make this immensely popular traditional festival more popular and safe. We granted it the status of adventure sport so that players are able to hone their skills while keeping team spirit in mind,” said Tawde.

Almost 20 teams have already registered for Tawde’s contest. Of these, five are all-women teams. Rules and safety norms have been explained to the participants, say the organisers.

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