Hyderabad: The 3rd Telangana International Kite Festival flew off to a mega start on Saturday at Parade Grounds here.
Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali inaugurated the three-day gala while Tourism Minister Azmeera Chandulal, Tourism Secretary Burra Venkatesham, Tourism Commissioner Sunita Bhagwat, Culture Director Mamidi Harikrishna and Telangana Legislative Council Chairman K Swamy Goud graced the occasion.
National Cadet Corps participated with marches, while students of several premier institutions were in attendance. Folk dances were held to enthrall the audience and the dignitaries.
Kites ranging in size from large to humungous, mostly remote-controlled, were flown to colour up the sunny sky. Among several symbols the kites represented were the Indian National Flag and a girl child, since the event supports the cause of educating girl children.
The kite festival began in 2016, and was hosted by the Aga Khan Academy on its premises in Shamshabad for the first two editions. This year, Telangana Tourism moved from being a partner to the organiser of the event, while the Aga Khan Academy and a host of other institutions are partnering.
A total of 80 kite flyers from 15 nations and 11 pan-Indian clubs are participating.
The event also hosts a first-of-its kind pan-India sweet festival, bringing out more than 1,000 varieties of homemade sweets. These sweets were prepared by residents’ associations from the city, and represent the cultural tastes of a dozen countries and 25 Indian States.
The Deputy CM, while inaugurating the festival, reminisced about his childhood and adolescent years.
“Growing up in the Old City, we were fervently excited about Sankranti festival every year. We would prepare for it a month in advance. There used to be so many kinds of kites and manjas. Hyderabad has always been a great city to celebrate Sankranti in, and I am glad to see a kite festival of such a large scale here,” said Ali.