Shivaji Jayanti is one of the important national festivals of India and is also the most awaited. Everyone looks forward to this occasion to celebrate the birth anniversary of the great Maratha warrior with pomp and gaiety.
Shivaji Jayanthi reminds the people about the achievements of Shivaji, who is revered as the pride of Maharashtra and continues to inspire people, particularly the Marathi speaking community in Maharashtra and also in villages, towns and cities like Belgaum, Khanapur, Nippani (in Karnataka) and the bordering areas of Karnataka.
Though people from all walks of life participate in the celebrations with great enthusiasm, children are the ones who remain the cynosure of all eyes. They start preparing at least a month in advance to participate in the great cultural extravaganza.
On the festive day, children dress up in colourful costumes to don the role of Shivaji, his family members and associates and form fascinating dioramas for the huge procession.
Each one of these dioramas depict various historically important events associated with his life and administration, right from his early childhood days to winning over Afzal Khan and coronation as “Chatrapati”, which personifies his courage.
The miniature forms of the Shivaji's forts, some of which are considered architectural marvels, also form a part of this procession. The celebration comes alive with traditional drum players and lazim-dancers and singing groups, while children join youth and elders to dance and make the most during this occasion.
The procession, which takes off in the evening goes on through the night and concludes only next morning.