Kite flier from 45 different countries of the world are going to paint the skies of Gujarat state in vibrant colours with their high-flying kites from January 6. 30th edition of the International kite festival will be inaugurated on Sunday by the Gujarat Governor OP Kohli. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijaybhai Rupani, Deputy CM Nitinbhai Patel and Minister of Tourism Ganpatsinh Vasava and other dignitaries will also be present on the occasion. This year, 151 international kite-flier will also participate in the Kite Festival which will also see the presence of 105 kite-fliers from 13 other Indian states and 545 from 19 different districts of the Western State. Apart from this Ambassadors of 15 different countries viz., Palestine, Libya, Cogo, Myanmar, Tunisia, mali, Zimbabwe, Brunei Darussalam, Chinese Taipei, Rwanda, Malaysia, etc., will also participate in the event.
Talking to Financial Express Online, International kite-flying participants from Israel Reuben Meyer and Samuel Meyer said, “We are drawn to the International Kite Festival at Ahmedabad because here we feel like family. We have also participated in other kite festivals in India but this is special because of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Now, and as Chief Minister of Gujarat also, he has developed this really nicely and he is a very good friend of Israel. We like the food of Gujarat and Gujarati people.”
Australian participant Trent Baker, Kenya’s Noah Bandanna and Cameron’s Fah Emmanuel also expressed similar sentiments to the Financial Express Online and Aussie Baker added that the preparations for the festival are “spectacular” while Noah said that everybody seems happy and there are good tents for international participants. Noah added that the event is quite colorful and this time many participants from African nations are present as well hence it is a good opportunity for cultural integration and learn about Gujarat.
President of Korean Kitefliers Association Kitai Rhee, who is also Managing Director of Asia Today newspaper said, “It is because of these (Gujarati) good people I am here. This is bigger than others.”
The festival will be organised at the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad in which 2000 students from different municipal schools of the city will perform Surya Namaskar. There will be twenty food stalls, including two from Chhattisgarh, to provide a tasty treat to the national and international visitors. Similar kite festivals will be organised organised across the Gujarat state in towns such as Surat, Dwarka, Jetpur, Vadodara, Saputara, Rajkot, Songadh, Kevadia and Dhorado over the coming week.
Among these, the kite flying festival at Kevadia on January 8 will be one of the main attractions as the tourists will witness vibrant colours in the sky dominated by the world’s highest statue. The kite flying festival of Dhorado in Kutch on January 11 and 12 will be in the backdrop of white sand desert. The International Kite Festival is also expected to provide a major boost to the tourism and hospitality industry in Gujarat as almost 90 travel agents from 16 different state will also participate in the event. They will be visiting the newly developed international travel attraction at the Statue of Unity.
(The reporter is in Gujarat on the invitation of Gujarat Tourism)