Gudis grow taller in Mumbai as celebrations get commercial

Several organisers in the city set up gudis on Thursday that soared dozens of feet above the ground – a sign that like most festivals, commercialisation is seeping into Gudi Padwa, the Maharashtrian New Year.

Traditionally, a gudi is a bamboo stick with a crimson cloth wrapped around it and a copper vessel on top, indicating the start of a new harvest season.

At Andheri Sports Complex, a corporate group set up a gudi made from five tonnes of steel that they claimed was 140.7 feet high. “We have sent an application to the Limca Book of Records and the Guinness Book of Records to make an entry as the tallest gudi,” said Seema Malagi, director of the company. 

In Ghatkopar, the Barve Nagar Akhil Bhatwadi Mitra Mandal hoisted a 53-feet tall gudi. The height corresponds to the number of years the organisation has been in existence. “We plan to increase the height of the gudi every year by one foot to match the years the mandal completes,” said president Ram Vilas Chavan.

However, at places such as Lalbaug, the height of the gudi was more modest. “Our gudi is usually around 10 feet. We don’t plan to increase the height for commercial reasons,” said Sanjay Dhumak, a member of the Hindu Navvarsha Shobha Yatra.

Several groups also cut costs to divert money to drought-affected regions. In Thane, where more than 10,000 people gathered for the Gudi Padwa yatra, organisers cancelled the usual horse carriages and fireworks. “We saved about Rs50,000, which we will send to drought-affected people,” said DK Soman, president, Kopineshwar Cultural Trust.

 

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