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International Kite Festival (Uttrayan)

(Last Updated 31 Jan, 2023)

  • Dates :

    14/01/2023 - 15/01/2023

  • Location :

    Sabarmati River Front, Ahmedabad

The exceptionally vibrant and a cauldron of numerous cultures and subcultures, the state of Gujarat gets soaked in a whole new burst of hues during the International Kite Festival every year when the place erupts in a unique enthusiasm. Every shop, office, and other normal activity is completely shut down as the locals take to rooftops, roads and open spaces to celebrate Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti to fly kites and fiercely compete with their neighbors. Children who would make so many excuses to go to school every day would be found wide awake and soaring their kites high into the sky early in the morning on this day. Such is the atmosphere of Uttarayan in Gujarat.

The festival of Uttarayan is one of the most important occasions for Indians. This day marks the change of the winter season into summer and signifies the harvesting season for the farmers. Hence, Uttarayan is one of the most eagerly awaited festivals and is celebrated with much fervor and enthusiasm within the Gujarat community. At the same time, many visitors from across the world come especially during this time to witness and participate in the rabid festivities.

History of the International Kite Festival Uttarayan

The art or hobby of kite flying was developed over the period in India. First, it was taken over as a major sport by kings and royalty and then by the Nawabs, who found it highly entertaining and as a means to compete and display their strength. As it grew, kite flying became a serious game with many different types of kites began to be made and with special strings to compete viciously. Expert kite makers and kite flyers from India and across the globe were invited or hired to show their skills and expertise in the art of kite flying and beat their competitors at any cost.

Some sources suggest that they were introduced by Muslim traders who arrived from Persia, while simultaneously, Chinese traders and pilgrims also brought in the tradition coming in from Tibet. Nevertheless, the practice already existed in India much before, and there are sundry references to kite flying in historical bards, writings, and other folklore.

Moreover, since Gujarat has been a center of trading activity and a place for blending Hindu and Muslim cultures, kite flying is taken and celebrated with much enthusiasm. It has now been taken as the observance of the Hindu Uttarayan festival. Celebration of International Kite Festival, Uttarayan.

Celebration of International Kite Festival, Uttarayan

The International Kite Festival is one of the major festivals in Gujarat and is a much-awaited event. This day is also considered sacred to Hindus. The preparations and celebrations of the Kite Festival begin early. People wake up early in the morning before sunrise.

Arrangements start in the kitchen to make delectable Gujarati dishes like ladoo, undhiyu, or surati Jamun, which are ceremonially prepared and eaten on this day. Most children and male adults hop onto their rooftops to fly the kites and take advantage of the favorable morning breeze. People gather in small groups on theirs or on their friends’ rooftops to find the optimum terrace for kite flying, making it a collective activity to celebrate together.

Kites of all shapes and sizes are flown, and far from friendly competition, for many, it becomes almost a battle mid-air. Days before the festival, people find their favorite kite makers who prepare strong, resilient kites and specially prepared strings called Manjha, a combination of glue and glass over the fiber to make it as sharp as possible to cut other strings of rival kites.

Production and supplies of kites begin as early as November and begin to appear in different markets across Gujarat. But nowhere else, the sale and purchase of kites are as intense as in the Patang Bazar, a specially appearing kite market in the old city. It even remains open for 24 hours, about a week before the festival. Although Ahmedabad hosts the International Kite Festival, the occasion is mainly celebrated with great zeal in Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, and Nadiad and the towns of other states like Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jodhpur, etc.

The excitement does not get over even after the long day of celebration. As soon as the night falls, people attach lighted paper lanterns called tukkals to the kite strings, which shine throughout the night, looking truly spectacular. Over the period, many innovations and additions to the festival were added, with numerous different kinds of kites being flown and kite experts coming from many different countries and festivals being celebrated in other countries.

Some of the highlights of the festival that have delighted the visitors are the kite of a master kite maker Rasulbhai Rahimbhai of Ahmedabad. Their 500 kites on a single string remain a top attraction. Almost every type of kite, from box kites to windsocks and high-speed sport kites to hand-painted artistic kites, can be seen flying over Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Gujarat Kite Festival 2023 Date

The Kite Festival 2023 in Ahmedabad will be celebrated from the 14th of January 2023 till the 15th of January 2023.

Venue of Kite Festival 2023

The Kite Festival 2023 in Gujarat will be celebrated at Sabarmati Riverfront, Ashram Road in Ahmedabad.

Be a part of Kite Festival in 2023. Book Gujarat Tour packages and Plan a Trip with IHPL today!

How to Reach

By Air

Sardar Vallabhai Patel international airport provides excellent air facilities for domestic and international flights. Being a major destination, the airport is connected to all major destinations inside India like Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, etc. There are numerous regular flights from these locations. Besides, there are direct flights to and from the UK and USA operated by Air India.

By Rail

Ahmedabad, being a major station, is well-connected to other parts of the country through railway lines, and there are regular trains from major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. The railway station is located about 6 kilometers from the city center and there are many buses, rickshaws, and taxis to take you to the International Kite Festival.

By Road

The roads in and around Gujarat are in excellent condition and are well-maintained. The city of Ahmedabad, being the capital city, is linked through vital towns and cities like Surat, Pune, Mumbai, Shirdi, Udaipur, Bhavnagar, and Gandhinagar are well connected to Ahmedabad.

FAQs about Kite Festival

Q: Where is the International Kite Festival held every year?

Ans: The western coast state of India, Gujarat, is where the International Kite Festival is held annually. Also called Uttarayan, locals of Gujarat consider it one of the grand festivals, and the skies are filled with colorful kites days ahead of the festival. The festival bill itself annually from January 14 to January 15, and Uttarayan in Gujarat marks peak winter in India.

Q: Why is the International Kite Festival celebrated?

Ans: According to the traditional Hindu calendar, the significance of the International Kite Festival 2023 or the past years is that it marks the beginning of the new harvest season for the farmers. Makar Sankranti is a day that marks the arrival of the harvest season.

Q: Which state is the International Kite Festival celebrated in?

Ans: International Kite Festival in India is celebrated across many other states as well, excluding Gujarat and including Rajasthan, and Telangana. The fervor of the festival in each state is at its peak for two days!

Q: How is Uttarayan celebrated in Gujarat?

Ans: Uttarayan or International Kite Festival is celebrated with zeal across Gujarat’s every town of Gujarat, but it is something special in Ahmedabad, the walled city flanked on the eastern banks of the Sabarmati River where the joyous streets are painted the colorful kites. Seeing such enthusiastic celebration of Gujaratis during Uttarayan is followed with preparing delicacies teemed with sesame seeds and jaggery (gur). Need not to mention, but the sky gets painted with colorful kites.

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