Ahmedabad celebrates 2000 festivals during the year. According to me, that is over 5 per, each day of the year. In all honesty, we didn’t see or participate in anywhere near that number, but January 14-15 was memorable. We were only in country about two weeks by that time so it was all so new and exciting. Wait, we really never got over that feeling of wonder and awe even after 4 months, when our time was over. These two days are a holiday known as this Kite Festival, Uttarayan, and are one of the largest festivals of the year. It is a two day holiday so all can participate.
A perfect day and event for a politician, so meet Mr. Modi who is the Chief Minister of Gujarat, the state of Alhmedabad. He is a declared candidate for Prime Minister for the BJP Party in the national 2014 elections.
This part of the festival is at the bank of the Sabarmati River in an flat, open space. When we arrived, it was packed with people and we were traveling in a group of 13, which we soon realized was impossible. We got separated from a couple of girls which was scary as we had not made ” a meet at this spot” plan to reconnect. We waited ,standing with our backs to a wall, sun glasses on, as several scouts were sent out. This was the place where we first noticed people taking our pictures in such a big way. They would go down the line signalling that they wanted to see our eyes, smiling if they were blue, and snapping pictures often with their families. It seemed to bring them so much enjoyment! Oh, I wish I had a photo of that line of celebrities but we were all so taken aback at the attention, that we didn’t take pictures of us having our pictures taken!
The international kites were huge and connected to enormous spools of line.
Notice the blue sky in the background. It was always blue, and totally devoid of clouds. In four months, there were only sprinkles twice. Monsoon begins in June and goes through August when all the rain for the year falls. The Sabarmati River is where the Sultan sat and watched the rabbit chase the dog in a previous post, and he decided to settle in what is now Ahmedabad.
Uttarayan is the name of the festival. The symbolism is of the gods awaking from the sleep of winter. Kite flying began in Muslim Persia as a sport for the king. Today it has spread as a favorite all throughout the Muslim world, but is enjoyed in India by Muslim and other religions alike. Many of you have read The Kite Runner set in Afghanistan. My friend Meena in Arizona, who is Pakistani, told me that there were a group of Pakistani men who meet in a Phoenix park to fly kites together.
These are real Kite Birds flying with the kite.
In India, no opportunity to dance is missed. These cultural dancers added to the air of happiness and festivity.
Stay tuned for the Kite Festival in the Pols of Ahmedabad tomorrow.
This is Incredible India !