Govinda Aala Re Aala

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Janmashtami, Travel around India and the Diverse Similarities Concept

The more one travels around India, the more one comes to understand the fact that this country is very diverse, the more diverse one finds this country and the more one encounters its similarities. One of the best ways to observe or enjoy these diverse similarities is join in and participate in the festivals. India has many festivals and each one is uniquely celebrated in different parts of the country. Many that fall on the same day may have different names, many that have the same name may have different legends and myths associated with them and when it come to the celebration, we all do it our own way.

As we gear up to celebrate the birthday of Krishna, I would like to introduce, explain and test the diverse similarities concept. As the world sleeps, a nation wakes up and goes to the nearby Krishna Mandir. As the midnight hour ticks over the people of this nation are buried in prayer and celebration. It’s the birthday of one of the most popular Gods of the Hindu faith. Some temple witness huge gatherings and a wonderful Prasad meal is wolfed down by the devotees. Women and men pray and give thanks to Krishna for taking human form and saving the earth from many myriad evils prevalent at the time.

Govinda Aala Re Aala
Govinda Aala Re Aala

In another part of India, children are dressed up and painted to appear like the playful child that was Krishna. The stories of His childhood are a part of folklore and are much loved and reiterated as lessons and parables for future generations to enjoy and learn from. The kids get their moment of glory and I for one believe that every child is in fact a form of the divine and holds the future of this world in their hands. In the land of the holy cow, Krishna as the Makhan Chor is an endearing image and one that you will find stuck on the wall of homes, hotels, tea stalls, railway stations and any corner of any nook anywhere and everywhere.


My favourite version of this fest is the one they do in Mumbai. What a show. A must watch for anybody travelling around India, they should head to Mumbai to watch this unique and heart stopping celebration. I am not exactly clear as the roots of this version apart from the fact that it comes from folklore. The aforementioned Makhan Chor would collect a band of buddies and steal milk, curds and butter from the homes of the simple folk of Mathura. These events are recreated as “Dahi Handi” celebrations in Mumbai but how it all started here, I don’t know.

Back in the day there was a sweet innocence to these celebrations, immortalised by the most lovable buffoon of Indian films with this song.

Every building, colony, locality used to have its own little version going and this writer too had his fair share of sore shoulders and breathless backaches.

Dahi Handi celebrations in Mumbai
“Dahi Handi” celebrations in Mumbai

In this picture yours truly is suggesting an idea only laughed at by the only guy in a bandana. “Kya baat kar raha hai yaar!        …Aise toh hum sab ki tang toot jayegi !!!!!  So much for a planned siege of the “Dahi Handi”.

But with time Mumbai has changed and MY! How it’s grown. Which now brings us full circle to the diverse similarities concept and its deliverance; the pictures make it all too clear.


Happy Janmashtami and Happy Govinda to you all.  By Rajesh Baruah


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