The state of Gujarat is vivacious with the famous Kite Festival which is celebrated with colors of joy and life. The Gujarat’s Kite festival signifies Cultural Strength of the state. Makar Sakranti, the Kite Flying day marks the end of long winter season with the return of the sun to the Northern Hemisphere. As per the Hindu astronomy, the sun enters Makara, the zodiac sign and hence it is also known as Uttarayan. Celebrated every year on 14th January, Uttarayan is enjoyed all over Gujarat with full excitement. In the month of January, the serene blue sky is sprinkled with glowing splashes of colorful kites in a variety of types, sizes & shapes. The excitement increases with the arrival of night. After the sunset, as the darkness hovers over, youngsters continue challenging each other with supremacy in the sky with the paper lanterns also known as tukkals tied to their kite strings. These lanterns oscillate at the mild blow of wind and presents a beautiful image.
Significance of Uttarayan
The merriment and charm linked with the kite flying cuts across all age groups, communities and class. Though, Uttarayan is a Hindu festival linked with the awakening of the Gods from their deep sleep, but as per the historians, India developed a rich custom of kite flying due to the support of the Nawabs and the kings who found this sport both pleasurable and a mode of portraying their skills. Well- trained flyers were employed to fly kites for kings. With the passage of time kite making and flying started becoming popular among the people and today, kite manufacturing is a big business. Members of various communities regardless of caste and creed are engaged in the kite business. Though kite making looks very simple but the devotion, aerodynamic skill and creativity that goes into the kite making and flying is almost a religion in itself.
Months before Uttarayan, homes in the various cities turn into a kite producing factories with all family members contributing to their seasonal cottage business. The sticks and paper are cut, glued and thousands of kites are prepared in the market. The string also known as Manjha is coated with a special rice paste & glass powder, ready to cut each other’s strings. The expert kite fliers are aware of the sharpness and take proper precautions. Their fingers are properly bandaged before they start flying their kite.
The International Kite festival
Gujarat tourism hosts the International Kite Festival every year thus attracting crowds to witness the show of famous kite makers from different countries and states. One of the major tourist attraction, the festival is held at Ahmedabad to match with the Makar Sankranti festival. The striking kites of various designs are displayed by the people from all over the world. It’s a spectacular show to see the colorful kites of various shapes and sizes.
Food – important to any Indian festival
Undhiyo is a special winter vegetable which is the speciality of the day. It is mainly a preparation of various roots, beans and other seasonal veggies. Jalebi, the twisted spirals filled with sweetness is a perfect complement to the rustic taste of the undhiyo.
Tips for experiencing the festival of Uttarayan
- Visit Gujarat- that’s the main key. Though the festival is celebrated all over the country but its magnitude of celebrations in Gujarat is incomparable.
- Ahmedabad is the city to be visited. Well connected by trains, buses and flights, the city is easily approachable.
- Do the bookings in advance. Khadia is the preferable place as the city gathers here to fly their kites.
So what are you waiting for? Book your ticket, pick up a kite and head to Ahmedabad in January where a sky full of vibrant colors awaits you.