The most ridiculously fun and amusing mud bath, the monsoon festival of Chikal Kalo (also spelled Chikhalkala) is celebrated only in Goa. This festival celebrates the fun and games that Lord Krishna and his friends used to have whilst playing in the fields during the monsoon season.
The heavy monsoon rains that Goa receives turns the ground into a veritable soup especially in the unpaved open spaces, and this is the venue for this festival. Besides the pujas and other religious observances traditional games are played and a gala time is had by players and spectators alike.
Where to Go
This festival is celebrated on the temple grounds in the village of Marcel in the Ponda Taluka of North Goa. It is about 17km from Panaji.
When to Go
The celebrations take place on the 11th day of the month of Aashadh on the Hindu calendar which falls on the 2nd of July.
History and Legend
This festival concentrates on playing games that are thought to have been played by Krishna and his friends as boys. These include games like Chendu fali (cricket-like game), vitti dandu (gilli danda) and other such outdoor sports.
This festival also celebrates the blessings and connection that the Goans as a farming populace have to Mother Earth and her bountiful gifts.
This festival takes place on the eleventh day of the Hindu month of Aashadh (June/July) and only takes place in Marcel, a little town about 17kms outside of Panaji. This town is home to the Devki-Krishna temple, known for being the only temple to have a statue of baby Krishna sitting on his mother Devki’s lap.
For 24 hours preceding the festival bhajans are sung. The grounds of the temple, already slushy due to the monsoon rains are made even more so by diverting all run offs to them. After anointing themselves with oil, the players and other devotees are given Prasad before the games begin.
The games are riotous, with plenty of dunkings taking place amongst the players accompanied by frenzied cheers from the crowds who also carry sweets and fruits to throw to the players.
This festival is most unique to Goa. Although it is a Hindu festival, all the residents of Marcel turn out to participate in the festivities.