The 30th edition of the International Kite Festival is running on full swing across the state of Gujarat, and you’ll hardly witness the sky ever so colourful! By Japleen Kaur
The festival kick-started in World Heritage City of Ahmedabad on 6th January, and will witness expert kiters from across the globe all the way till 14th January, which is also the main day. Uttarayan as Makar Sankranti is called there, is a harvest festival celebrated with pomp and show.
This year, at the Sabarmati riverfront, the CM of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani and Governor, Om Prakash Kohli inaugurated the festival, throwing it open to hundreds of participants from around the world, 45 countries to be precise.
After an exuberant parade where the countries walked proudly with their respective flags, kites, and merry smiles, the field became a legit playground, taking us back to our childhood. But right before that about 2000 municipal school students performed the Surya Namaskar, all in perfect sync.
Participating countries included USA, Canada, China, Nepal, Israel, Australia, Germany, and so many more including 16 states from India. It was definitely a global meet of cultures, right here on the banks of Sabarmati.
Kites of all kinds swam among the backdrop of the blue sky. There was an alien, a tortoise, two huge tigers, a life size football, a white whale, a Rubik’s cube, and things that looked straight out of a kid’s comic book. In short, there was joy in the air, and happiness on all faces.
The food court was brimming with a variety of local, Gujarati delicacies that everyone seemed to enjoy. A section was reserved as the arts and crafts corner where people sold junk jewellery, cloth, sweets, wall hangings, and souvenirs that one could take back home as a memorabilia of Gujarat.
There was a hall next to the ground that acted as a workshop station for kids teaching how to make kites, and quiz booths on our political leaders. An adventure zone was created for the entertainment of one, and all.
The kite festival is a major boost for the tourism department with interactions from agencies, other departments which is positive considering around 6 crores were spent on this festival alone. The other fact that needs to be taken into account is the plight of the birds during this time. The number of injured birds increases manifolds not only in Gujarat but throughout the country. A step towards curbing that this year has been taken by the tourism board by banning the use of glass powder that is normally used on the strings that harms the birds.
The festival is taking place across the state in areas such as: Surat, Dwarka, Jetpur, Vadodara, Saputara, Rajkot, Songadh, Kevadia and Dhorado. It is also an attempt to increase tourism at the recently constructed ‘Statue of Unity,’ which is located in Kevadia overlooking the Narmada dam. Kiters will be able to fly their kites with the world’s tallest statue in the background.
If you are in Gujarat over the next couple of days, you should not miss this festival, and go watch the sky burst in colours.