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UTTARAYAN

INTERNATIONAL KITE FESTIVAL 

Uttarayan is celebrated every year on 14th January, known as Makar Sankranti.

The festival of Uttarayan is a uniquely Gujarati phenomenon, when the skies over most cities of the state fill with kites from before dawn until well after dark. The festival marks the days in the Hindu calendar when winter begins turning to summer, known as Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan. On what is usually a bright warm sunny day with brisk breezes to lift the kites aloft, across the state almost all normal activity is shut down and everyone takes to the rooftops and roadways to fly kites and compete with their neighbors.

Since 1989, the city of Ahmedabad has hosted the International Kite Festival as part of the official celebration of Uttarayan, bringing master kite makers and flyers from all over the world to demonstrate their unique creations and wow the crowds with highly unusual kites. In past years, master kite makers from Malaysia, Indonesia, USA, Japan, China have been coming with their in novative and high tech kites. A master kite maker and famous kite flyer Rasulbhai Rahimbhai of Ahmedabad trains of up to 500 kites on a single string have come to be a classic attraction.

Though Uttarayan is originally a special day of the Hindu calendar, it is said that the i dea of flying kites to celebrate the date was a concept that arrived with Muslims from Persia, and it has now transcended all religious boundaries. No matter what your background or beliefs, if you are in Gujarat in January, you will no doubt find yourself flying kites with everyone else.