Big prize money at dahi handis will not be the only attraction for govinda groups from the city this year. Ambulances, large trophies and weekend picnics in resorts are a few of the several freebies that organisers are offering to govindas.
State housing minister Sachin Ahir, who organises the Sankalp Pratishthan dahi handi at Worli’s Jamboree maidan, plans to honour every team that makes seven and eight-tier pyramids with a gift besides awarding prize money to the top three winners.
“I will gift an ambulance to each team making a tall pyramid,” said Ahir, a legislator with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). “I want the ambulances to be used for providing free services to the people in their respective areas.”
At Pratap Sarnaik’s Sanskruti Yuva Pratishthan dahi handi in Thane, all participating govinda groups will be given trophies worth Rs5,000 each. “The trophies are being specially designed to depict various cultural symbols of Maharashtra, and will be given to every mandal walking in, even if they don’t win,” said Sarnaik, who plans to stream the festivities live at the local police station as a security measure. “We are also planning some special gifts for women govindas.”
While Ram Kadam, another handi organiser in Ghatkopar, will hold a special press conference this week to announce the gifts he’s offering, individual govinda groups have already devised plans to treat themselves.
“We are going to take our 200 members for a weekend picnic to a resort in Alibaug,” said Sandeep Mhatre, secretary of Sewri’s Bal Mitra Mandal, which had organised a similar trip to Arnala last year.
“It is important to celebrate and unwind after the festival,” said Mhatre.