Dahi Handi & Australian Photography Magazine …

It’s taken a while to happen … but finally very pleased to see a double page spread in the latest edition of Australian Photography magazine showcasing an image I made at a Hindu Dahi Handi event in Mumbai … and my story of how this image came about.

The pic was made back in September ’18 on a working visit to Mumbai which coincided with the annual festival of Krishna Janmashtami … one of the most important festivals in India which celebrates the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, one of the most widely revered gods of Hinduism.

At once a religious celebration and a sport (it was classified by the government as an adventure sport in 2014), Dahi Handi is performed the day after Lord Krishna’s birthday every year on what seems like almost every street in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Teams of up to a hundred young ‘Govindas’ form human pyramids in an attempt to reach and smash a pot … the ‘Handi’ … filled with yoghurt and suspended tens of metres above them. The event is based on the legend that a baby Lord Krishna used creative ways to steal milky treats which were supposedly hung high out of reach.

Two India based good friends … S Anand Singh from Varanasi and Mumbai based former pic ed Srienivas Akella … thankfully joined me as we navigated Mumbai’s manic rail system across town to one of the best Dahi Handi venues. The pyramid building (bottom image) was breathtaking and not without incident … but I kept coming back to an image I made of a ritual performed by one of the teams. One of the Mumbai media photographers passed on a tip to watch out for this ritual performance of togetherness and team work before commencement of their pyramid build. The image was made from the fourth floor balcony of an adjoining residential block. Many teams around the surrounding streets got into serious pyramid building and pot smashing … but only one team seemed to perform this ritual.

The full story and the image itself across the fold can be seen in the Australian Photography March edition available at newsagents across the land … (or you may be able to just about make out the words on the magazine pages grab below 🙂 )

My Thanks to Australian Photography editor Mike O’Connor for the run.

Images © Brian Cassey, & publication Australian Photography magazine


Image of Dahi Handi in Mumbai published Australian Photography magazine - 'Behind the Lens' ... image by Brian Cassey

Dahi Handi - Hindu festival image made in Mumbai by Brian Cassey, Cairns Australia based photographer

Mumbai … India …

Not long back from a very rewarding stint in Mumbai … India’s pulse …

Worked on a few potential photo stories … some with more success than others … and formed friendships with two great experienced Indian photographers.

S Anand Singh … freelance photojournalist and ‘Mr Varanasi’ … made the long trek from Benares to act as my invaluable fixer. Anand introduced me to Mumbai photojournalist legend Srienivas Akella (Srini for short!). Srini is a former associate photo editor at the Indian Express and was the driving force behind the Solaris Images picture agency. The two of ’em introduced me to members of the Mumbai media photo community …. some of which I found I had ‘connections’ to … and the delights of the Mumbai Press Club. They were also tireless in working through our pretty packed picture agenda.

Anand and Srini guided me through the complexities of the amazing Mumbai urban train system (which it is said moves approximately 9 million people every day) as we traversed the mega city to venues that I may never have discovered.

As I havn’t yet managed to edit all the work that I made in a hectic but thoroughly enjoyable visit … I’ve posted below just a few images from some of those stories we worked on. There’s a pic (bottom) from a far too short, minutes long, visit to a Kushti (Indian wrestling) akhara (would have liked much more time to document properly … despite the fact that many photographers have worked on this before), an image (second from top) from the Dahi Handi festival celebrating a young Lord Krishna, one from a set on dabbawallahs (the men who deliver the cities lunches) … and just one (top) from a pic essay I am very fond of … “The Typewriter Wallahs of Mumbai” … which I’ll post on my web site soon. There will be more at a later date …

Thank You Anand and Srini for making it all possible . Really looking forward to working with you again in the future …

(Stop Press … Srini is planning to use his vast experience of India to organise photo tours for photographers to visit the subcontinent from Australia . Stay tuned for more news on that … )

Images © Brian Cassey


"Typewriter Wallahs of Mumbai - pic essay by Brian Cassey photographer Cairns Australia

India Mumbai - Dahi Handi 2018 Pic © by Brian Cassey

Dabba Wallahs - Mumbai India - images by Brian Cassey photographer Cairns Australia

Kushti wrestling - Mumbai India - image © Brian Cassey Cairns Australia