The sky over the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad came alive with spectacular kites on Sunday morning after the three-day Vibrant Gujarat international kite festival kicked off. Kite-flying enthusiasts from 36 countries are participating in the event, one of the biggest shows of its kind on earth. This year's festival is the 21st in a row to be organised jointly by the state tourism corporation.
Borne on favourable winds, hundreds of kites of all sizes and designs took to the sky. Many enthusiasts were flying kites that looked like tigers, octopuses and some other animals. These kite-flyers said they had chosen to fly those kites to raise awareness about certain species that are threatened with extinction. As many as 93 people from foreign countries such as the US, UK and Spain, among others, and 150 kite-flyers from 10 Indian states, including Karnataka, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, are participating in the event.
"The weather was favourable and so was the wind," said James, a middle-aged man who had come all the way from Philippines to take part in the festival. "To fly a Trilobite Kite, you need both good weather and favourable wind. I am happy that I have flown a kite in Ahmedabad and stayed in India." His giant kite, called the Trilobite, was among the biggest at the festival on Sunday. James said it had cost him $5,000.
There were dozens of other attractive kites but one of the cutest was flown by a couple from Spain. It was called Acrobatic Kite, though such kites are also known as stunt kites. Then there were kites shaped like carious animals, all of which delighted the hundreds of kite lovers who had thronged the riverfront for the event. Officials said five different kinds of competition had been introduced this year and on Tuesday, chief minister Narendra Modi will announce the winners.
According to officials, the kite festival will also be held in Kutch and Mandvi on January 12 and 13.
Source: DNA January 09, 2011