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Contest in the sky

- Gujaratis fly kites at Bistupur; politicians drum up the mood at Sonari

Bollywood star Juhi Chawla fought a close battle with Salman Khan.

Their battlefield, however, was not on the screen, but on the Bistupur sky as 300 Gujarati families assembled at Biswajit Manimela grounds for the annual kite-flying competition to celebrate Makar Sankranti, or Uttarayan as they call it, on Tuesday.

The two-and-a-half hour competition, which was organised by Gujarati Sanatan Samaj and Gujarati Sanatan Saheli (the women’s wing of the outfit), kicked off sharp at 11am with over 70 Gujaratis of different age groups flaunting their kite-flying skills.

Kites of various colours and sizes, some as long as 2 feet, dotted the skyline.

Being organised for the past six years, this is the only annual kite-flying competition in Jharkhand.

The competition was held in three categories. While the junior group had participants aged between seven and 16 years, those above 16 years competed in the senior category. Kites with innovative decorations were placed in the fancy category.

While those who collected maximum kites were chosen the winners in the first two categories, for the third category, the criterion was the design and decoration of the kite. “Apart from the look of the kite, the most important criterion for judging the best flyer was how many threads he/she has been able to cut by one particular kite,” said Remila Tanna, secretary of Gujarati Sanatan Saheli.

Partha Chokshi and Manoj Ardeshra bagged the top honours in junior and senior category, respectively. Kishore Vasani booked the top slot in fancy kite category by flying 25 kites together.

However, the main attraction this year was the five food stalls put up by the organisers. Gujarati delicacies like theplas, khichu, gathia and jalebi satiated the hunger pangs of the participants.

The competition is only for Gujarati families. Though organisers had planned to rope in other communities this time, space shortage acted as the dampener.

The Biswajit Manimela grounds is spread across 5,000sqft area approximately.