From this year onwards, the state’s dahi handi festival will be formally supported, promoted and publicised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).
In a press conference to inaugurate Monday’s festival, the state’s tourism minister Chhagan Bhujbal announced that promotion of dahi handi as ‘The Govinda Festival’ would help bring in more tourists to the state.
“Dahi handi has become very professional today and scientific techniques have enabled govindas to make eight and nine-tier pyramids,” said Bhujbal. “It will be promoted at a national and international level as a part of state’s cultural heritage.”
MTDC plans to celebrate ‘The Govinda Festival’ annually on the eve of Janmashtami, on the lines of its other initiatives such as the Elephanta Festival, Banganga Festival and the Pune Festival.
This year, the celebrations will include hosting a team of 250 Spanish Castellers in Mumbai. The team, named Castellers da Vilafranca, is famous for having made up to ten-tier pyramids in Spain. “Spain, India, Morocco and Paraguay are the four countries in which human pyramids are made,” said Jitendra Ahwad, president, Sangharsh, Thane-based organisation that holds dahi handi competitions annually and has invited the Castellers to Mumbai.