Unique Kite Festival
On January 14, when Gujarat celebrates Makar Sankranti to mark the last harvest of winter, Ahmedabad hosts the International Kite Festival, the largest of its kind in the world. For weeks in advance shops brim with a splendid assortment of kites of strange and original designs, many painted with animals or the faces of gods and heroes.
A Social Event
India has a long tradition of kite-flying, and during the festival the city comes alive with diving and darting kites flitting through the clear blue skies as families join with enthusiasts from all over Asia and as far a field as America and Japan. On the first day of the festival, crowds of kite-flyers gather in 'Patang Nagar', a "Kite Town" - usually in the police stadium-to display models of all sizes, made of paper, cloth, bamboo and fibreglass.
There's a carnival atmosphere, with food and crafts stalls and performances of dance and music late into the night. On the second day you can follow the experts to the city's roof terraces and learn to fly kites, and after dark the night sky is ablaze with 'tukal' kites strung with coloured lights.
Reach Out To The Skies
The climax of the festival comes on the third day, when kite strings are coated with a lethal mixture of ground glass, egg yolk and boiled rice, and kites are played off against one another in fierce combat. Cries of "kata!" fill the air as slashed kites fall stricken from the skies and come to rest limping on telegraph wires and trees.
The Navratri festival celebrations at Ahmedabad and Baroda are famous throughout Gujarat . Come October and there's just one feeling allover. There is a feeling of joy & happiness. A time for dance and music when the young hearts throb with excitement and energy.
The Night Is Young
Navratri is celebrated for nine nights and reaches its finale on the Dussehra day. During this period, young people in their best traditional dresses, 'chania choli' for girls and 'dhoti kurta' for boys, dance the traditional Garbha and the Dandiya Raas through the night for all the nine days of the festival .
Here the evenings and nights are occasions for the fascinating Garba dance. The women dance around an earthen lamp while singing devotional songs accompanied by rhythmic clapping of the hands.
Similar to the Rath Yatra of Jagannath Puri in Orissa, a Rath Yatra is carried out in Ahmedabad as well. The procession starts in the morning from the Jagdish Mandir situated in the Jamalpur area of the city. The chariots of Krishna, Balram and Subhadra, adorned with garlands, are taken round the city amidst much pomp and show.