The International Kite Festival, or Uttarayan, marks the beginning of summer and end of winter, according to Hindu astronomy.India’s history shows that the event began as a royal sport, for kings to display skill and power, but over time reached the common population. The first kite festival was celebrated in 1989, and visitors will see that throughout the major cities of Gujarat the kite flying can start as early as 5AM. About 8 to 10 million people participate in the event, and the best places to go to are the Sardar Patel Stadium or the Ahmedabad Police Stadium.
Ms. Patel claimed that the festival has boosted the kite-making industry in Gujarat as well as attracted tourists in the State over the years.
“Just like this Kite Festival, our Prime Minister started many such festivals to make the people of Gujarat prosperous. Thanks to this festival, the kite-making business in Gujarat has grown from Rs 100 crore to Rs 700 crore within last 10 years. It has helped all those who are in the business of making kites and other related products,” she said.
The inaugural function, held at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, was attended by several dignitaries, including Governor O.P. Kohli and Minister of State for Tourism Jayesh Radadiya.
“As many as 98 kite flyers and enthusiasts from 29 different countries have come here to take part in this festival. Apart from them, 55 participants from eight different States and 28 from Gujarat will also showcase their talent here,” Mr. Radadiya said.
Participants from the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Netherlands, Singapore, Turkey, Vietnam, Poland, Argentina and Brazil are taking part in this event, he said.
Besides the main kite festival, the State Tourism Department has also simultaneously organised the festival in other cities, including Botad, Porbandar, Mandvi, Surendranagar, Khambhat and Modhera.