Kurla couple Bhau and Shalaka Korgaokar, who formed the city’s first women govinda group in 1996, had never imagined that they would be invited for Gokulashtami celebrations to Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna.
The Gorakhnath Mandal, comprising 300 women govindas, has been travelling outside Mumbai for the past five years.
“We have been to Dwarka, Jaipur and other places, but it is a great honour to visit Mathura as that is where Lord Krishna was born,” said Bhau, 59.
Around 150 women govindas from the group have already started practicing for an hour every evening at the Kedarnath Mandir in Nehru Nagar, Kurla, before the group leaves for Mathura on August 20.
While the govinda group has several school and college students, Shalaka, 58, a retired primary school principal, ensures that the festivities do not affect their studies. “We take permission from schools and for students in Class 10, we insist on minimum practice,” she said.
For the nurses, policewomen and housewives in the govinda group, the festival is a way to showcase their state’s traditions. Neeta Ambokar, 50, one of the oldest members in the group, feels that travelling outside Maharashtra helps them promote Marathi culture.
“In other states, Gokulashtami is celebrated differently. It is only in Maharashtra that we make human pyramids. So, when we travel, we get to showcase our state’s culture,” said Ambokar.