Skies in the western state of Gujarat are sprinkled with vibrant colours these days due to the ongoing International Kite Festival across the state. From the towering Statue of Unity to white sand desert of Kutch, the state is gripped in Uttarayan festival’s fervour. Recently, Kite fliers from 45 different countries descended near the Statue of Unity and participated in the International Kite Festival against the backdrop of the world’s tallest statue.
The IKF 2019, organised by the Gujarat government tourism department, is witnessing representation from hundreds of kite flyers from around the world who are participating in the nine-day-long event. They showed off their spectacular kites in the blue skies over the Narmada river flowing right between the Vindhyas and Satpura mountain ranges.
The 182-meters tall Statue of Unity is built in the memory of India’s freedom fighter and ironman Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He was also the first deputy prime minister of the country and one of Mahatma Gandhi’s chief disciples during the non-violent freedom struggle.
The kite festival marks the days in the Hindu calendar when winter starts turning to summer, known as Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. The State’s International Kite Flying Festival is one of the few prominent kite flying festivals in the world. Master kite flyers from across the globe have converged to participate in the event.
Talking to Financial Express Online, Brazilian master kite flier Gustavo Erico Linhares said that coming to India and Gujarat is more than just kite flying. “It is a spiritual experience for me. Since childhood, I have heard stories about India and Brazil being the only two countries in the world where rooftop kite cutting competitions take place. So, I always wanted to be here.” Gustavo said.
On Sunday, the ancient city of Ahmedabad has hosted the International Kite Festival’s inauguration. The festival is being organised in the state since 1989 as part of the official celebrations for Uttarayan festival. Kite festivals are being organised across Gujarat in towns such as Vadodara, Saputara, Rajkot, Surat, Songadh, Kevadia, Dwarka, Jetpurand Dorado over the nine days culminating in Ahmedabad on Makar Sankranti.
(The reporter was in Gujarat on the invitation of Gujarat Tourism)