Krishna devotees carry on 286-year-old ritual
While most of the people in the city were busy in celebrating Dahi Handi the conventional style, on Thursday, in the interiors of old Panvel, at Bapatwada, around 300 volunteers gathered in a trance like state to observe a 286-year-old tradition of breaking the pot festival.
Thousandsof devoteesof Lord Krishna gathered to witness the rituals, which is one of the most unique dahi handi celebrations in the city. The Bapatwada family has been organising this ritual for over two centuries, from the time the Bapat family moved into the colony in 1700s.
This is the only dahi handi celebration that does not have any money or special prizes to offer to its participants.
Rajendra Bapat, 39, the current owner of the colony, said that the sole intention of the ritual is to enact the dahi handi in a totally non-commercial form. “The entire tradition was started by my forefather Balaji Participants at the dahi handi celebration in Panvel. This is the only dahi handi celebration that does not have any money.
Pant Bapat when he bought two eight-inch silver idols of Vithoba and Rukhumabai from Dahi handi celebrations at Rabale was unique as participants did not have to worry about flouting rules.
Pandharpur in around 1730 and started worshipping them in the colony temple. We then started
observing the Janmashtami celebrations followed by this ritual every year,” said Bapat.
The 10-day long celebrations for Janmashtami began from Nairali Purnima and the Janmashtami puja was performed on Wednesday midnight when clay idols of Lord Krishna, Balaram, Vasudev, Devaki, Nanda and Yashoda were worshipped.
Apart from the lack of cash prizes, the handi in this ritual is not actually broken by govinda pathaks but by volunteers from 10 other associations from in and around Panvel who are dedicated worshippers Vithoba and Rukhumabai. No other persons are allowed to enter the colony to break the handi.
“The dahi handi was hung at an arm reach level in the courtyard and broken by the volunteers with a silver stick called ‘rajyadanda’ belonging to the Bapat family which my forefather had bought along with the idols. On the 10th day, the clay idols will be immersed in a water body, that will be followed by a procession of Krishna devotees from Panvel,” said Bapat.