Festivals of Gujarat > Kite Fesival
The International Kite
Festival is always held at Ahmedabad on January 14, to coincide with the festival of
Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. It is a joyous day, with a bright sun, clear skies and
breezes strong enough to lift innumerable kites aloft. It is in fact a celebration to mark
the end of winter, when the heat of summer is still to come. Kites are flown all over
Gujarat, and Ahmedabad and Baroda become cities of kite-flyers, when all other work is
forgotten and cares are put aside for the morrow.
Special food is eaten,
usually in the open field or a park, or in the garden of one's home. Even for the
religious, it is a time to rejoice, for it marks the movement of the sun into the northern
hemisphere. The gods who are believed to have slumbered for six long months are now awake
and the portals of heaven are thrown open! The temples are thronged with visitors and alms
are distributed freely
.Kite-flying starts at dawn and continues without a pause throughout the day. Friends,
neighbours and total strangers battle one another for supremacy and cries of triumph rend
the air when someone cuts the line of a rival. A tremendous variety of kites is seen and
the connoisseur can choose precisely what he wants.
Today, an International
Kite Festival is held at Ahmedabad, which draws visitors from all over the world. This
gives the people of Ahmedabad the change to see the unusual kites brought by the visitors
some of which are truly works of art.
The visitor is naturally curious to learn more about kites, and his curiosity can be
satisfied at the Museum,
which presents briefly and colourfully, the history of kites. For instance, we learn that
in 200 B.C. Huan Thang of China flew a kite at night to overawe the army of the Han
dynasty. From 100 B.C. to A.D. 500, kites were used for sending signals and to measure the
distance of enemy camps.
By A.D. 930, the Japanese
mention "Shiroshi", meaning paper bird, for the first time. Between A.D. 960 and
1126, kite-flying become a popular sport in China. The 9th day of the 9th month was a day
when kites were flown to banish evil. In Indian literature, kites were mentioned for the
first time in " Madhumati" by Manzan, and were called "patang", which
is the word still used today.
From Ahmedabad one can visit
Gandhinagar, the new capital, which is 32 kms away. The mediaeval step-well of Adalaj is
on the way. Only 115 kms away is Modhera with its 11th century Sun Temple. Sarkhej, only
12 kms from the city, is a building complex dating back to the Sultanate. Apart from
these, there are numerous places of interest within Ahmedabad. These include the sandstone
jalis or latticework screens which were intricately carved and form part of the Sidi
Saiyed mosque. Karkaria lake is a place where people spend pleasant evenings away from the
rush and bustle of the city.
at the geographical centre of Gujarat and delightful excursions can be planned from here.
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