Variety

Gujarat Kite festival starts on emotional note

PTI | | Updated on: Jan 13, 2013

BL14_KITE

The Gujarat International Kite festival this year started on an emotional note when two dozen foreigner kite flyers, while lighting 25 candles to mark the silver jubilee of the event here last evening, broke down while remembering a late tourism officer who used to receive them.

Holding large candles mounted on bamboo sticks, the foreigner kite flyers, along with their Indian counterparts, gathered at the centre of the festival venue a day before its inauguration on January 14.

Conceived 25 years ago, the festival has now acquired a shape of an event, where besides kite flying, the foreigner kite flyers, throng to meet local residents and shopkeepers, organisers, and their foreign counterparts.

“Besides getting an opportunity to fly kites, this is the place where most of us have developed our friendships. Now after 10 years, I feel we all are part of the family but not professional kite flyers. The Gujarat tourism employee was not merely an organiser. He was part of that family,” said Gadis Wydiyati, a woman kite flyer from Singapore, who has been attending the event continuously over more than 10 years.

She said it was the love of the kite flying tradition among Indians, especially Gujaratis, which has kept it alive and attracts kite lovers like her.

“The craze here and promotion by the government is exemplary. As far as I know, it is only in India where you get a holiday to fly kites,” Wydiyati added.

While the festival this year has witnessed maximum number of foreigner kite flyers, there are only handful of those who have come for the first time.

If there is Rami-al-Khal, who is arriving from Lebanon for the last five years to participate in the festival, there is also a Swiss couple, Carlo and Pitouzo Franciskas, coming to the festival for the past three years.

Published on January 13, 2013
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