The city streets were all about lezhims, dholaks and nine-yard saris on Monday morning as hundreds of Gudi Padwa yatras (processions) brought in the Maharashtrian new year.
In Girgaum, where nearly half a dozen parades organised by local cultural groups and political parties converged, the main road was lined with rows of gudis — bamboo stick to which a bright cloth is tied and an inverted copper pot is placed on it — and blown-up posters hailing the Indian cricket team.
A gudi is considered to be a symbol of prosperity. Students dressed in traditional attire dominated the processions. “Through this festival we are trying to preserve our culture,” said Mayur Mhatre, 24, a Girgaum resident and youth-wing member of Lalbaug’s Swami Samarth cultural mandal.
Girgaum’s KDGB Nivas Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal took out their eco-friendly fibre-glass Ganpati as part of their yatra and invited groups of professional lezhim dancers and mallakhamb artistes to showcase their talent. There was more street spectacle in Ghatkopar, where the Akhil Bhatwadi mandal erected a 51-foot high gudi and more than 3,000 people paraded with six horses, two horse carriages and an elephant.
“We had 10 floats depicting the Maharashtrian history and culture and one float with a huge World Cup replica and children dressed in tricolour,” said the mandal’s president Vilas Ram Chavan. “This year, the participation was more as it came after a weekend – and that too after India’s victory in the World Cup,” said Mangesh Parab, president of the Abhyudaya Nagar cultural mandal in Kalachowkie.
The city’s Telugu and Kannada communities also celebrated their new year, Ugadi, on Monday, while the Manipuris celebrated the festival as Cheiraoba.