The city of Ahmedabad has been hosting the International Kite Festival every year, ever since 1989. The event is held in January, to commemorate Uttarayan, one of Ahmedabad’s most-loved festivals. It was something that started off as a small celebration, and grew huge over the years, especially in the last 4-5 years or so. The kite festival today attracts big, big, big crowds and celebrities, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi included. The event sees participation from master kite flyers from across the world, who come in to showcase their beautiful kites and talent.
Sadly, I never, ever, attended the kite festival when I lived in Ahmedabad. I have seen scenes from the festival on TV and pictures in newspapers, though, and know just how festive the atmosphere gets, with hundreds of people flying their unique kites side by side, which get cut off one by one till there are very few ‘survivors’. All this to cheers and claps by thousands and thousands of excited watchers, in the midst of cultural programmes and lots of media frenzy. This year, our visit to Ahmedabad coincided with the beginning of the International Kite Festival 2018, and we decided to drop in to get a feel of the fervour.
When we visited, the festival had just begun, there wasn’t much of a crowd, and there were few participants in the arena, trying to fly their kites. We passed by for a short while, thanks to a cranky bub who refused to walk one bit. Still, the atmosphere managed to fill our hearts with awe and joy.
I leave you with some pics from our visit to the International Kite Festival 2018.
I loved the biiiiigggg food court that one came to as soon as they walked through that entrance. Gujarati specialties like dhokla, khaman, gota, khichu, undhiyu, Uttarayan-special varieties of ice creams, and loads of winter delicacies graced the numerous stalls that lined the food court – what a great idea to promote the wonderful, wonderful food that Gujarat has to offer?! The food court right at the entrance proved to me something that I have always known – that food comes before everything else for the fun-loving Gujarati!
After the food court came a huge arena, which was surrounded by onlookers and media. In the arena were a few participants, trying to get their kites off the ground. That wasn’t really a problem, considering the pleasant breeze that wafted through the venue, thanks to the Sabarmati waterfront right next door.
There weren’t many kites up in the air when we visited, but we did spot some really unique ones. I could only imagine the out-of-the-box kites that would be dotting the sky as the day of Uttarayan came closer.
Some of the kites were eye-catchingly colourful. Some were decked with the colours of the national flag of the participants’ countries Some were huge. Some were in the shape of animals. Some had the face of celebrities imprinted on them.
Some of the kites were so big they refused to lift up in the air. Some required roller skates and two or more sets of threads to balance them.
We were to leave Ahmedabad much before the day of Uttarayan (January 14), but the brief glimpse of the International Kite Festival was enough to carry back with in our souls.
For more pictures and information about this year’s International Kite Festival, check out the Gujarat Tourism website.