Kite flying is a part of Indian culture since time immemorial. In Bengal, during Karthik Puja that takes place right before the annual worship-frenzy of Goddess Durga, Kite flying is a regular site in typical lanes and by-lanes of North Kolkata as well as smaller towns. But nothing can beat the extravaganza and beauty of Kite festival of Gujarat that occurs every year to mark Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan in North India. Though the most celebrated international Kite Festival is being held at Ahmedabad, other major cities of Gujarat like- Varoda, Surat, and Rajkot also host the annual kite-flying ceremony.
If you never been in Gujarat before but planning to visit the state for a long time, then do plan your itinerary according to the Kite festival (that happens to take place 14th January each year), as you will get to see the state in a complete new light that it could be missing in any other time of the year.
If we list down the reasons which should propel you to visit Kite festival in Gujarat, they can be as follows-
It can take you back to your childhood days
The Kite festival of Ahmadabad makes for a heart-warming site when children from various age-groups fill the streets and the roof-tops to fly kites, to shout at each other in sheer amazement, to engage in mock-fights and enjoying themselves thoroughly. The parents, who in other time of the year, don’t let their kids to play at outside let alone flying kites; pamper their kids to the fullest this time and allow them to have time of their lives during the days of Kite Festival.
With them, you too can forget your age, stop letting yourself too seriously and indulge yourself in the adrenaline-rushing excitement of flying kites. It would be all the more exciting if you stay in Ahmadabad in the preceding week of the Kite Festival as the roadways as well as the famous Paltan Bazaar in the old Ahmadabad will be overflowing with kite-sellers. Among them, you can negotiate, customize and buy kites on the basis of your requirements.
It’s a cultural melting pot
As the name suggests, it’s an ‘International’ Kite Festival so you have every right to hope for meeting with kite-flying enthusiasts from different nationalities. Usually the official festival, which is sponsored by Tourism Department of Gujarat, takes place in the Sardar Vallavbhai Patel of Ahmadabad. And be prepared to be smitten by kites of every sizes and shapes that can exist in this world.
Some of the countries who regularly send master kite-makers and flyers are- China, America, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan. If not else, your knowledge of kites will grow manifold at the end of the festival and you can gingerly tell the difference between Malaysian wau-balang kites and Japanese rokkaku kites. While the opulent banner kites from USA can make you awe-induced, the dragon-kites from China give the right touch of orient creativity and enigma.
Apart from witnessing kite-flying, it could be a great opportunity for any traveler- to meet new people, mingling with different cultures and bonding unusual friendships.
It’s never ending fun
Sometimes, the festivals which take place during night leave us wanting for more during day-time. But not with the Kite Festival of Gujarat. From dawn to dusk, you will get to see the whole city up and active every moment and never once slowing down the frenzy. People set up their alarm at 5 am and once they get out of the beds, don’t crashes on it till the middle of the night. While during day time, the sky of Ahmadabad is filled up with millions of kites with diverse shades, sizes and shapes; during the night, white kites fly above with strings of lanterns attached with them, making them appear visible and glowing all the time to the audience.
Don’t expect to receive the common services that you may get in any normal day at Ahmadabad, as on the very day of 14th January each year, the shops remain closed and you face some altercations in the public transport system of the city. But instead of that, the day promises to bring on an unlimited package of entertainment round-the-clock.
It brings delicious and authentic Gujarati foods on the table
What’s an Indian festival without finger-lickingly good food? International Kite Festival of Gujarat is not an exception. The pre-conceived notion in the rest of the India about Gujarati cuisine is that – it always boils down to thepla, dhokla and khakra (even Kareena Kapoor mentions it in ‘3 Idiots’!). But living and breathing in Gujarat during the time of Makar Sankranti can change your notion about Gujarati foods.
As it’s mentioned in the above part that the Kite Festival takes place in Sardar Ballavbhai Patel stadium of Ahmadabad, you may expect numerous stalls inside the venue selling lip-smacking and true-blue Gujarat delicacies such as- hot jalebis, a dish called Undhiyu which includes a mishamash of vegetables like yam and beans, mouth-watering chaats, leafy vegetable based items like Sev Tameta Nu Shaak, Gujarati kadhi- to name a few. But do keep it in mind that all the popular dishes are purely vegetarian so if you have an active canine tooth, then prepared to be a little bit disappointed due to the unavailability of meat and fish, even in posh restaurants of the city during that time.
It provides the social media buffs to go for a photography-trip
These days, you can expect any prominent celebrity from bollywood to grace the venue of Kite Festival. If you are hooked to Indian politics, then you shall be overjoyed to know that from 14th January ( the inauguration day of Kite Festival) to 15th January ( the closing day)- the venue turns out to be a hotbed for power-bodies of Indian politics as they too, visit the place in flocks to observe the fiesta.
If you are on the constant look-out to capture moments via your newly-bought expensive DSLR and yearn for multiple-likes once they are uploaded in your Facebook profile or Twitter one; then this Kite Festival can gift you the chance-of-a-lifetime for taking photos of dazzling celebs and the stars of the event- innumerable kites covering the sky of Ahmadabad.
So ? gear up for the next year and plan well ahead as the Kite Festival of year 2015 has already been a ‘thing’ of the past !