By V.N. Balakrishna, IANS
Ahmedabad | In the perfect settings of a clear sky and gentle breeze, the annual kite flying festival saw a colourful start here Sunday with the participation of hundreds of aficionados, including several from countries like the US, Britain, Israel, Malaysia and Japan.
The unique festival coincides with the state’s flagship global convention called the “Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit” that commences at the Science City here Monday to project it as an ideal destination for tourists and investors.
“With just a Rs.2 kite, we have lifted Gujarat to international level, earning us global recognition,” said Chief Minister Narendra Modi, while speaking at the Jain International Trade Organization (JITO) Global Summit Saturday.
“The whole world is aware of the kite festival and more than 30 countries will be viewing the event,” he said.
“There are 182 kitists from 31 countries,” said the event’s organiser, Gujarat Tourism Minister Jaynarayan Vyas, at the venue of the festival.
“I think these are the kinds of events that become brand equity events, create interest among tourists, bring them to the state and make them stay here. These events go a long way in promoting our state,” Vyas added.
Among the attractions were artistic kites from Malaysia, which were also given specific names like “Power-Kites” and “Sky Dancers”, to grab the attention of spectators and leaving them mesmerized.
“I love Gujarat. I like Gujarati dishes. I love the people of Gujarat. And their hospitality is really, really wonderful,” said Ralph Resnik of Israel, while participating in the festival for the third time.
As for Richard Raw of the US, another regular here, it was a case of mixed feelings.
“Because I am a judge for the contest, I am really missing the kite flying,” he told reporters, adding that expert and amateur kite flyers alike were otherwise happy with the wind currents here.
Preparations were also on side-by-side for the Vibrant Gujarat summit at the Science City Monday. Officials said it would be web cast live at sites including narendramodi.in, jitegagujarat.com, gujaratindia.com and namoleague.com.
The concluding session of the global summit and various seminars organized on Wednesday can also be viewed live through the above links, officials said.