For the last 13 years, when December comes to a close, Vile Parle residents come together for an extravaganza unlike any other in the suburbs. And this year too, as the preparations are underway for the 14th Parle Mahotsav, a sport and cultural festival, local residents are preparing themselves and eagerly waiting for the fest, so that they can put their talent and sporting abilities to test.
Organisers said this year the fest, which commences on December 21, is on course to be one of the grandest. Organised by the Vile Parle Cultural Centre (VPCC), in association with Sathye College, the 10-day event has included two new competitions Elocution and Antakshari this year, taking the overall competition tally to 40. The 13th Parle Mahotsav had close to 25,000 participants.
“This year the festival will be held on a grand scale. Seating arrangements have been made at all venues where the games will be held. Additional seating has been arranged at Dubhashi Maidan where people can enjoy watching the games for free,” said organiser Parag Alvani.
Majority of the games and contests are held at different locations and also in the classrooms at Sathye College, while the popular competitions are held at Dubhashi Maidan. Divided into different categories that include art, cultural, indoor, outdoor and special competitions, the highlight this year is expected to be the yoga competition.
“Yoga was introduced in the Mahotsav four years ago. Many do not know about the yoga competition and what’s supposed to be done. We give participants different yoga poses, which they have to perform with perfection. The one judged the most consistent is the winner.”
More than 1,000 volunteers will manage the event. The event will start at 8 am and carry on till 10 pm. “We are still accepting entries for the events. Around 25,000 participants are expected to participate this year.” To mark the start of the millennium, the Vile Parle Cultural Centre decided to celebrate it in a grand away in 1999.
“It was a historic moment and we decided to start a festival that year, and we have continued ever since after getting good response from the locals. When we started we had on eight competitions and 2,750 participants. No political patronage is encouraged during the games. It’s for the public,” said Alvani.