Gujarat in grip of kite flying frenzy

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Ahmedabad, Jan 13: All eyes will be trained to the sky and majority of people will be on their rooftops in Gujarat on Makar Sankranti tomorrow, which is celebrated as the kite festival in the state.

As Makar Sankranti is falling on Monday, people in Gujarat will have three days of festivities, starting from Saturday. The whole sky will be teeming with colourful kites amid cries of ''Kaypo chhe (We have cut your Kite)'' for the next few days. This time, a large number of people, including foreigners and Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, have come to witness the International Kite Festival being held at the police stadium here.

The state is in the grip of kite-frenzy and as a result, the kite makers are doing brisk business. The celebration is compounded by the fact that this time the stock market is also doing well and is achieving new heights.

The kite business is worth Rs 100 crore in Gujarat and the major manufacturing centres are Ahmedabad, Khambhat, Vadodara and Surat. The raw material comes from Agra, Pune, and Mumbai and bamboos for the support are brought from Assam. Kites from 2 inches to 12 feet in size are made for the occasion.

Makar Sankranti is secular in its true sense as most of the craftsmen related with kite business are from Muslim community. Experts, who prepare the thread used to fly a kite, come from as far as Bareilly and Lucknow.

The annual kite festival of Tourism Department attracts lots of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and foreign kite lovers. This time the four-day festival is related with the Gujarat-South Africa connection. Many Gujaratis settled in various parts of Africa are expected to participate in the event.

UNI

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