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Photo Gallery | Hundreds of kites fly over local Lilburn Mandir

LILBURN --  On March 17th, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn, GA celebrated its annual Kite Festival. Hundreds of colorful kites waved in the air above the Mandir. Families came together to enjoy the festival, the weather, the good eats and the spiritual ambiance. 


High above the complex of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn, hundreds of colorful kites peppered the bright sky.  On the front lawns, the radiant laughter of children, racing after their kites, filled the air. Daughters and sons, mothers and fathers all worked to keep their kites in the sky among countless others.

Hundreds families gathered at the Mandir on March 17, 2012 to celebrate Uttarayan, the first major Hindu festival of the year. Uttarayan, or Makar Sankrati, is an annual kite flying festival that brings together families and friends across Gujarat as well as the world. In Sanskrit, “Uttar” means north and “ayan” means to move in that direction. It is festival that marks the changing of the sun’s pattern and the end of winter in Indian heritage. The kites and the strings to which they are attached represent mankind’s bond with God, and represent the spiritual journey of aspirants. Traditionally, Uttarayan is held in mid-January, but BAPS Atlanta hosted the festival in March at a time when attendees could enjoy the warm spring weather.

“I don’t normally fly kites, but I come to this festival every year because my children love it,” said Kunjal Patel, who drove from Charlotte, N.C. to participate in Uttarayan. “I try to teach them both how to fly kites and how the festival itself represents the idea that we should all strive for something higher in our personal and spiritual lives.”

Uttarayan is one of many Hindu festivals that are celebrated at the BAPS Mandir throughout the year.  The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir keeps the spirit of Hinduism alive through these festivals and helps nurture Indian traditions and culture in young Indian-Americans