One of Mumbai’s biggest festivals, Dahi Handi, will be celebrated on August 21.
But before the actual celebrations begin, city Dahi Handi mandals participate in a pre event called Chor Dahi Handi, considered a practice session for the main festival.
One such mandal, which has been celebrating Chor Dahi Handi for many years, is the Young Umerkhadi Krida Mandal (YUKM).
Situated in the bylanes of Dongri or Sandhurst Road in south Mumbai, it has been organising the event for the last nine years.
This year holds added significance because of the seven-foot tall trophy that it will to present to the winning squad.
The trophy is the tallest ever awarded by any city mandal so far.
Says Digamber Chavan, vice president, YUKM, “Dahi Handi mandals in the city concentrate more on cash prizes than on mementos. Which is why, this will be the tallest trophy ever awarded at this festival."
Chor Dahi Handi is celebrated on Narali Poornima, which traditionally marks the end of the monsoon and the beginning of the new fishing season.
Some of the popular destinations for the celebration include Girgaum, Tardeo, Lower Parel, Worli, Dadar, Parel, Kurla and Malad. The YUKM trophy, which costs Rs. 15,000, has been donated by the neighbourhood’s Seven Star Cricket Club.
“Since this is more of a practice session for the big day, we also have some prize money,” says Digamber, adding, “We bear the entire expenses of the competition, without taking sponsorships from any political outfit.”
YUKM, which has been in existence since 1948, expects about 60 teams to participate this year.
“The height of the Handi is not fixed before the event. Each mandal is allowed to adjust it to whatever height they wish. By doing so, we make sure that no one is injured before the actual event. It goes up to seven tiers.”