|Festival||International Kite Festival (IKF)/ Uttarayan/Makar Sankranti|
|Date||January 8th to – January 14th , 2017|
|Venue||Sabarmati River Front, Ashram Road, Ahmadabad, Gujarat|
|Time||8 AM to 5 PM|
|Car Entry Point||Patang Hotel, Nr. Nehru Bridge Corner, Ashram Road, Ahmadabad -38009|
|Public Entry||Vallabh Sadan Temple, Opp. Gujarat Chambers of Commerce, Ashram Road, Ahmadabad|
In the words of essayist Anais Nin, there is a famous saying- “Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
Over the phase of time, we have climbed across many ladders of transformation, but the tradition of kite flying in India still remains as fanatic as before. Ages back, kite-flying was merely a royal sport habit but gradually it turned into a popular fun loving activity among the people. In order to sustain the spirit of this fun, Gujarat Tourism hosts an International Kite Festival (IKF) every year. This kite festival is also famed as Uttarayan, and it pulls plenty of kite enthusiasts from various parts of the country. According to mythical saga, Uttarayan symbolises the commencement of the summer when winter ends on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti. In Hindu astronomy, it is believed that kite festival is an indication of awakening the deities from their deep sleep.
Gujarat is renowned as the most festival-oriented state in India with a variety of 200 plus festivals being celebrated here every year. Considering the significance of IKF and mounting demand for kites, people start manufacturing kites long before the festival. On the day of kite festival, people in Gujarat kick-off their dawn carrying numerous kites for a colourful takeoff. More than eight millions kite enthusiasts flock here from various parts of the nation to participate in this greatest kite festival. The sky of Gujarat turns more colourful when international visitors join hands in this International Kite Festival from Australia, Singapore, US, UK, Brazil, France and many other countries.
Being one of the popular festivals in Gujarat, kite festival is often called as Uttarayan, which is also celebrated in many other cities like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara, Surat and Nadiad. Not only this, the kite festival is celebrated in Telangana, Rajasthan and Hyderabad as well. In Gujarat, you get to see immense crowd celebrating this greatest festival of kites. However, the best place to feel the intense of International Kite Festival is Sabarmati Riverfront, which has the capacity to accommodate around 5,00,000 crowds during festival days. Additionally, you can also see a good number of kite enthusiasts at Ahmadabad Police Stadium.
About the Celebration
The International Kite Festival is all set to unveil its colourful takeoff on 8th January 2017. However, the actual celebration is performed on 14th January i.e. on the eve of Makar Sankranti. Kites of different designs and shapes are flown from the rooftops and other spacious areas of the city. This festival also acts as a connecting platform for family, friends and neighbour. On the day of kite festival, people greet each other by offering local foods like Undhyu, Jalebi and laddoos.
On the eve of Makar Sankranti, people start flying kites in the early morning and this sky journey continues throughout the day. The real fun begins when people involve into flying battle chasing each other’s kites by detaching their kites attached to the strings.
The atmosphere in Gujarat completely turns festive during International Kite Festival. The kite-makers finally get the chance to exhibit a variety of kites for sale on the streets of Patang Bazaar. People start gathering to the kite stores a week before the festival. Some of the kites are quite unique in shape and look that attracts the attention many visitors to a large extent.
On the second day of the kite festival, many illuminated kites are flown in the sky. This results to an amazing panorama after dusk. The illuminated kites are filled with tukals, which means lights and candles.
The Kite Making
Uttarayan is a blissful moment for all the kite lovers in Gujarat. The sky of Gujarat gets roofed by multiple floating colours during this one week carnival. The kites are made in various shapes with different designs and materials like leaves, papers, plastic, metal and nylon. However, most of the kites that you will find quite common during this festival are made of light-weight paper and bamboo. The shapes of such kites are rhombus, and bright colour paper is used to make the look of the kites more vibrant.
An imperative supporting of kite is spool, which is of cylindrical shaped object on which the strings attached to the kite are rolled. Spool is commonly known as ‘firkin’ or ‘firkees’. The strings used to fly the kites are not ordinary strings. People spend long hours to get it prepared for the event. The string is coated with a blend of glue and dust of glass. Once the layers of these mixtures get dried, the string is rolled to the spool and other side of the string is attached to back side of the kite. This process is called ‘manja’ and as a result of this ‘manja’ the string gets quite razor-sharp to cut the string of other’s kites.
Reasons to be there
For kite enthusiasts, IKF is a moment of delight. You can spend all your day staring at the sky even without flying one. However, after getting a colourful vista around, it becomes quite difficult for someone to hold back from being a part of this distinct kite festival. One of the key reasons to be a part of this kite festival is its international prominence. In this kite fiesta, you will get an eye-catching opportunity to see some amazing artistic showcase from many International artists who also arrives here to feel the madness of this wondrous carnival.
The greatest IKF has welcomed many creative kite makers in precedent years. Some of the dazzling kites that have gained the attention of global audience are sculptural designs from Italy, Drgaon kites from China and Rokkaku kites from Japan. Not only this, some of the local kite makers exposes their mastery by flying five hundreds plus kites on a single string.
How to Reach There
Visitors travelling from different parts of the country need to keep a tab on the means of connectivity to reach Ahmadabad. Here are the different modes of transport that you may choose as per your viability:
The nearest airport is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Airport, which is situated merely 14Kms away from the city area. This airport is well-connected to various important places of India and overseas. From the airport you will get cabs or pre-paid taxis to reach your destination.
Travellers can reach Ahmadabad by train as well. Located at a distance of around 6Kms away from the city, Ahmadabad railway station is the nearest station, which is also known as Kalupur Station. Ahmadabad railway station is well connected to the major places like Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Jaipur, Patna Hyderabad etc. From railway station visitors can hire taxis, buses and rickshaws to enter the city area.
Gujarat and its adjoining cities are conveniently connected by road. Through Ahmadabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS), the place is in good touch with some of the major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Shirdi and Surat. If you are travelling from Mumbai via NH 8, you can cross the distance in almost 10 hours to reach Ahmadabad.
Places to Stay
Ahmadabad has galore of luxurious staying options for visitors. The hotels and resorts of Ahmadabad cater quality services to the tourists. Though, depending upon the time of your visit the hotel charges may vary from time-to-time. Nevertheless, by spending Rs.2, 000 to Rs.4, 000 or more you may avail some good hotels here as well.
Some of the nearby staying options are recommended for you:
15, Ashram Road, Old Vadaj, Ahmadabad,
Gujarat, India 380013
Charges: Rs. 3,990 (approximately) Per Room per Night
Gurudwara Govinddham lane, S. G. Road,
Thaltej, Gujarat, India 380054
Charges: Rs. 1,800 (approximately) Per Room per Night
#Sahaj Palace Hotel
Opp. Terapanth Hall, Behind Dinesh Hall, Income Tax,
Ahmadabad, Gujarat, India 380009
Charges: Rs.1, 600 (approximately) Per Room per Night
#Comfort Inn President
Opp. Municipal Market,Off C.G. Road,
Navrangpura, Gujarat, India 380009
Charges: Rs.2, 470 (approximately) Per Room per Night
Khanpur Rd, Khanpur,
Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380001
International Kite Festival is something that you should not miss. If you love to explore India, this event has lot many things for you to discover. So, plan your holiday to witness this unique festival without a second thought. Get ready to shout loud ‘Kai Po Che!’ with the local crowd here in Gujarat.