Uttarayan is a major festival in Gujarat and coincides with the country's other harvest festivals such as Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Bihu,Lohri, etc. The Kite flying is a tradition during Uttarayan. The day which embarks the beginning of New Year according to the Hindu calendar, is also celebrated as throughout the country.
In Gujarat, kites of all shapes, colours and sizes are flown, and the main competition is to battle nearby kite-flyers to cut their strings and bring down their kites. People wake up early on this auspicious day gather in groups on the rooftops to fly kites and the excitement does not die in the night as well. People attach paper lanterns called as ‘tukkals’ to the kite strings, which shine throughout the night making the sky look spectacular.
The excitement, however, picks up much before the actual date as kites of various hues start dotting the skies from the beginning of the New Year. Streets of the capital city Ahmedabad are buzzed with kite suppliers from as early as November, to get ready for Uttarayan, and 'Patang Bazaar', the special kite market is the busiest one that appears in the old city. For the week preceding the festival, it is open 24 hours a day for all kite lovers to stock up for the festivities
This year, the much awaited kite festival was hosted from January 8 to January 14. The festival was celebrated at different major Gujarati cities including Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, and Somnath and it was witnessed in its full grandeur at Ahmedabad.
Currently in its 27th edition, the International Kite Festival has been hosted by the Gujarat Tourism Development Cell.