Up in the sky, with strings attached

Secunderabad: The Telangana International Kite Festival has reached a different level. The participation of 15 countries in this 5th edition is testimony to the fact, said K T Rama Rao, the MA&UD Minister, at the inaugural ceremony of the three-day Fifth International Kite Festival on Monday. V Srinivas Goud, Minister of Sports, Tourism and Cultural department was also present.

The kite festival is growing with each passing year. This year 40 international kite- flyers from 15 countries and 60 kite flyers from across the country are taking part. Last year 8 lakh people visited. Since the past few years, the festival is being held at Parade Grounds.

Tourism secretary Burra Venkatesham, who was overlooking the arrangements at the Parade Grounds, said: "This festival celebrates the cosmopolitan nature of Hyderabad while boosting tourism in the city."

Mahesh Chawda, who has been making kites for the past several years and is the only big kite manufacturer in India, said, "I came from Gujarat and have been making these kites for the past 12 years. The kites are of sizes from 2 cm to 100 ft and costs of RS 2,000 to 60,000 and more. I have been visiting the kite festival for the past 3 years and have been also exporting these kites to foreign countries.

Andrew from Scotland has a Guinness World Record in his name for being the fastest man to fly the cat buggie at 60 mph. He said, "This is my second year that I have participated in this festival. I have been flying these kites for quite a long time and I am glad that I am representing my country in this beautiful festival of kites."

Maddy from Indonesia has come to the festival for the second time. He further said, "Kite flying is like meditation. It's a peaceful feeling when you see a kite fly in the sky, It's great to be here in Telangana for this festival."

Narendra Shinde from Maharashtra who makes small kites and also works in the stock market, said" The smaller the kite, the harder it is to make these kites. I have been coming to this festival for the past two years."

Shiromi from Sri Lanka who has been visiting the kite festival for the first time said, "Kites are my favourite things. I developed a passion for it since childhood and that drove me to design my own varieties. I get invited to several festivals in and around India and wherever I go people flock to see my kites. Though kite flying is a good source of income, I never took my passion as a business venture."

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