Varied colours symbolic of 34 countries, including Britain, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Singapore and Malaysia, dotted the clear blue skies in Ahmedabad as the 20th International Kite festival ‘Uttarayan’ was formally inaugurated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi Monday.
Cheered on by eager kite enthusiasts, kitists – some professionals and others who take it up as a passion – took to the skies with their unique creations.
If a woman-shaped kite took off from near the Singapore pavilion, an eagle took flight at the Indonesian one. The Lithuanians flew their sophisticated creations while kitists from Ecuador awed everyone with a black kite with mysterious designs. One could also see a mammoth dolphin, butterflies and tiny kites strung together and colouring the skies.
Giedre Jakstaite of Lithuania, who participated in the festival for the first time, said that she has hardly ever seen the kind of enthusiasm involved in kite flying as she witnessed here.
“It’s spectacular to see so many kitists and so many people cheering them on while flying kites. It’s an electrifying atmosphere and I would love to come here again,” Jakstaite told IANS.
Similarly, Claire Jane of Britain said: “My husband and I pursue kite flying as a hobby and participated in this festival for the first time last year. We were so impressed with the enthusiasm of the organisers and the craze of the people that we decided to come back. This time we have made some three-dimensional, box shaped kites…our aim is not to win competitions but participate and enjoy the ambience”.
As many as 105 kitists from 34 countries are participating in the ongoing kite festival that will culminate on the main day of Uttarayan, the harvest festival of Gujarat, Jan 14. Besides them, more than 120 kitists from different parts of India are also participating in the festival.
The fervour of the kite festival, however, is not just restricted to the festival venue – the Sabarmati riverfront. The entire city of Ahmedabad is gearing up for Jan 14 when kites of different colours, shapes and sizes will be flown from rooftops of almost every household.
“The rough estimate of Ahmedabad’s population is six million and on Jan 14 the number of kites in Ahmedabad’s skies will be roughly four million. That is the kind of enthusiasm you see amongst people for the festival,” a Gujarat tourism official said.
By Azera Rahman
–Indo-Asian News Service