Thousands celebrate silver jubilee of kite festival

Participants from 50 countries, 9 states show their skills at riverfront

Thousands of kite enthusiasts thronged the Sabarmati riverfront Sunday morning as the 25th International Kite Festival took off on the eve of Uttarayan. The annual event inaugurated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi saw as many as 50 international participants and 150 from various parts of the country.

While kites of different shapes and designs, including remote-controlled, LED-equipped and hand-painted among others, flooded the sky, some chose to use the event as a platform to spread messages against female foeticide and the recent Delhi gangrape incident.

Among the international participants were a royal couple from Bali, winners of kite international championships, kite designers from Holland, synchronised kite flyers from the UK and the organiser of the Lebanon international kite event, to display some of their own creations.

"This is the first time we are participating in this festival and I regret of not coming here before," said Idabagush, who along with Ugrasena, come from a royal family of Bali and is a champion of Balinais traditional kite championship. "We have more than 25 kites worth Rs 8 lakh, representing traditional kites of our country," said Idabagush.

Lebanon participants had some of the interesting kites that could be controlled with a remote. "Apart from a guitar shaped kites and a revolving kite, this duck shaped remote control kite is one of my specials. These have been invented to overcome the problem of no or low winds," said Sami Sayegh while he was fixing a LED strip on one of his kites to fly at night.

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