The Bombay High Court on August 7, eased restrictions on the Dahi Handi festival by refusing to decide on the height restriction on the human pyramid. The court has also stated that Dahi Handi is an adventure sport and agreed to lower the age limit for Govindas to 14. In 2016, owing to the increase in the number of accidents HC had restricted the height to 20-feet. This made many organisers to stay away from the festival. Though we are not sure whether the stake for breaking the handi will come down or not. All we can say is the prize money over the years had reached in lakhs. Here’s a look at some of the richest Dahi Handi events of yesteryear.
Kalidas Kolambkar Dahi Handi, Wadala
Wadala Congress legislator Kalidas Kolambkar has announced a cash prize of Rs 5.50 lakh for the patakhs. In an interview to a daily, Kolambhkar was quoted saying, “More than 450 groups participate in the event. The prizes depend on the height they scale.” In 2016, the cash prize of Rs 5.55 lakh was announced to the winners.
Sangharsh Pratishthan Dahi Handi, Thane
This Dahi Handi is considered as one of the richest Dahi Handi mandals in Mumbai. The prize money goes up to lakh of rupees and few grams of gold is an added incentive. The groovy music adds to the enthusiasm. In 2013, Rs 1.11 crore was offered as the prize money while in 2014 Rs 51 lakh was offered – Rs 25 lakh for a record 10-storied human pyramid and Rs 26 lakh to other teams. While in 2017, Awhad is back with his grand scale celebration however with fewer cash prizes due to demonetisation and economic slowdown.
Tembi Naka Dahi Handi
Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde organises one of the oldest Dahi Handis of Thane. Popularised by Shiv Sena leader late Anand Dighe, the Dahi Handi is considered to be the mother of all Dahi Handis. Dighe managed to get the coverage by Doordarshan and BBC. It offers 200 gram of gold to the winners. Compared to other organisers it doesn’t huge prize amount but the prestige of breaking the popular handi draws Govindas and crowd here.
Ram Kadam Dahi Handi, Ghatkopar
Named after BJP MLA Ram Kadam, the Dahi Handi event sees Govinda pathaks from all over Mumbai. In the past, the event has doled out cash prizes up to Rs 1 crore. The event is a star-studded affair with a large number of celebrities in attendance like Shah Rukh Khan, Asha Parekh, Ameesha Patel and Yukta Mookey. After Bombay High Court’s refusal to impose height and age restrictions on Dahi Handi recently, Ram Kadam was quoted saying, “We will hold the tallest Dahi Handi in India.”