Sky is the limit for participants of International Kite Festival

The kite-flying event, which concluded on January 14, remains one of the biggest and most colourful festivals celebrated in Gujarat, writes Tehelka Bureau

The shouts of Kai po che (I have cut) were loud and clear as Ahmedabad’s skyline was covered with diverse kites that differed in sizes, shapes, designs, and colours during a week-long festival.

The famous International Kite Festival of 2020   which was held between January 7 and January 14, days before Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti — is an annual event where almost everyone in Gujarat, from children to adults, takes to the rooftops to fly kites. People from every age group and all walks of life take part in the extravaganza amid loud music.

Kite reels for sale at night market during Uttarayan Kite Festival.

Traditional sweets like gazak are prepared and distributed during festival that marks the arrival of spring. Makar Sankranti is celebrated in different ways across the country. In some areas, people exchange sweets and greetings, while others take holy dip in the river. In Ahmedabad, the event supported by Gujarat Tourism and hosted since 1989 — witnesses a steep surge in kite prices.

The festival that marks the day when winter starts fading out to make way for spring and subsequently the summer was inaugurated by Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat and CM Vijay Rupani at the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad amid the presence of state ministers and country representatives.

Historically, Persians brought the kite flying culture to India. It was a sport that the kings and nawabs used to fly kites to display their skills and power. Now people from all over the world come to Ahmedabad with various kinds of kites to showcase their power.

The shapes and designs of the kites are based on animals, birds, insects, fishes, cartoon characters, mythological figures, flags, etc. The first kite festival was celebrated in 1989 and from then on the festival has become the part of the culture and heritage of the Gujarati city.