For the first time ever a kite festival was organised in Siliguri on Thursday to mark world tourism day. A festive feel created by a riot of colours in the air attracted unexpected attention and enthusiasm.
Nineteen kite flyers from across the country attended the festival, organised by the department of tourism and were supported by the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators’ Association (EHTTOA). State tourism minister, Rachpal Singh, and North Bengal development minister, Goutam Deb, were also present at the proposed cricket stadium site near Uttorayon. According to some of the kite flyers like Bhavna Shailesh Mehta (44) of Ahmedabad and Dilip Kapadia (79) from Mumbai, the festival is a positive step towards showcasing North Bengal as a tourist hotspot.
Kapadia who has been flying kites since the age of 6 was among the 3 members of the Golden Kite Club, Mumbai who recently participated in the international kite festival in Paris. Six members of the Golden Kite Club participated in the festival on Thursday.
Kapadia told HT that even though right now the season is not appropriate, the venue is ideal for hosting such festivals. Bhavna Shailesh Mehta from Deep’s Kite Flying Club, Ahmedabad, who is the first woman kite flyer in the country said, “Organising kite festivals would definitely help promote tourism like it did in Ahmedabad.” International kite festival in Ahmedabad is one of the biggest festivals organised every year on January 14 and 15.
Shayzaday Abbas, the member of Manjha Team International, that participated in the international kite festival in France said, “The participants were happy with the arrangements made here in such a short time.” However he said that most of the participants were unable to withstand the scorching heat and a lack of adequate wind also had a serious effect.