Ahmedabad: With the inauguration of the annual Gujarat kite festival on Sunday, kite lovers from over 40 countries and 10 Indian states would participate in the colourful event being held at Patangnagar.
A record 300 kite flyers would take part in the celebrations at the venue, which spreads in an area of over 75,000 sq m on the banks of river Sabarmati.
The event, being organised by Gujarat Tourism, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi by releasing thousands of tricolour balloons in the air which dotted the skyline above the venue.
As many as 200 students of Bhagwat Vidyapeeth performed Aditya Stuti, a set of hymns to pay respect to the sun deity, at the inaugural ceremony.
While hundreds of locals gathered on the terraces of their multi-storied apartments to witness the event, over 2,000 students of various government schools in Ahmedabad performed the `Surya Namaskar.`
However, the hallmark of the event was the march past where Modi took salute from members of various international kite flying clubs.
Kite enthusiasts from countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Congo,
Lebanon and Ethopia were present among others.
Besides, kite lovers from over 10 states of the country including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal also took part in the march past.
Before coming here, the international kite flyers had been demonstrating their kite flying skills and innovations in various cities of Gujarat continuously for the past seven days.
Since 1989, the Gujarat tourism department is organising the `International Kite Festival` to mark the occasion of Makar Sakranti.
With over 300 kite lovers this year, the event has witnessed the highest number of participants in the history of festival.
However, despite elaborate arrangements and publicity given by the government to draw as many people as possible, the turnout was not at par with the expectations, as thousands of chairs were rendered unoccupied even during the peak of the event.