Kite Adventure in Gujarat 2023 – Chapter 3

… in which we dodge deadly obstacles, finally fly kites as we like, get neither tea nor coffee, witness a birth of a new life, ride camels, and enjoy an impromptu corrida.

KAP Jasa – kite team Slovenia was invited to the great International Kite Festival Gujarat 2023. From January 6 to January 16 we rode planes, buses, cars, rickshaws, and camels from Slovenia to Ahmedabad and all over the amazing Gujarat state of India. We found old, and made new, friends; experienced beautiful, crazy, and astonishing things; and flew kites in incredible places. Enjoy the third instalment in the series – and if you haven’t yet read the first two, Chapter 1 is here, and Chapter 2 here.

Slovenia has a hot and humid climate; its economy is based on sugar cane plantations and tourism. A diverse flora and fauna graces this volcanic island archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and 2 million of its intrepid inhabitants enjoy dancing, singing, feasting on fantastic dishes based on fish and taro, and enjoying various potent drinks among which rum is the most popular. The nearest neighbour of Slovenia is Mauritius.”

(from the famous Atlas of the World by Dwarka Kite festival organisers)


Our bus was crazy already – but the geographically-inventive organisers of Dwarka kite festival 2023 had an even crazier bus prepared for us. We had just recovered from the near-death experience with that wild boar (who turned out to be really nice, she showed us her kids and demanded scritches), and now another close encounter with the Grim Reaper? It looked benign, though: a double-decker bus with a sundeck on the top: no roof, no windows.

Which is rather insane when you think about the way the power grid of the cities of India is laid out, the ubiquitous manjhas lying across roads, and various plumbings, branches, and overpasses along the route.

Watch that tree!

I forgot something at the hotel, and by the time I came back out, the bus had driven off. A nice driver offered to take me, catch the bus by driving like a bat out of Hell across the city, and make the bus stop by diving in front of it, braking furiously, and forcing it off the road.

It all happened exactly how he described it.

I jumped on the bus still shaking from the wild ride, and while I climbed the stairs to the top the bus drove onwards. As I was reaching the top deck, I heard some weird chanting …

Down down down down … Up! Up! Up! … Down down down down … Up! Up! Up! …

Are they all doing some strange tribal dance? I stepped on the top deck the moment they went from Up! Up! Up! to Down down down … I looked at them cowering on the floor puzzled – and suddenly I saw a power line that was laid across the road just a couple of inches higher than the bus, threatening to cut me in half while electrocuting my ass off.


I remained crouched down on the floor the whole ride, while the crazy kiters were periodically going up (Up! Up! Up!) and going down (down down down …) when a tree branch, an overpass, a manjha, or a power line came upon them with great vengeance and furious anger … a strange dance not unlike those ancient coming-of-age quests that always involve some kind of mortal danger.

Dwarka kite ground was great – open, vast, and meticulously prepared, and even the wind was cooperative. We got our ajna chakras covered with bindis by a flock of beautiful ladies. The ceremony started with the customary neverending VIP speeches, and there was a nice performance of Dwarka artists and dancers.

URL: dwarka dot ladies dot nice

Who’s the real VIP?

Then it was time to fly – and after the dull Ahmedabad “wind” Dwarka was a treat. Everything went up, the sky was soon coloured by kites of all sizes and shapes everywhere.

Colourful sky over Dwarka

The mesmerizing manta of Mexico

After a couple of hours flying kites under the hot Dwarka sun we realized we need water, and some sweet Indian tea to replenish our energy levels. Water was soon found, but tea … Trying to get a cuppa for us turned out hilarious – mainly due to the fact that one of us is already hard of hearing.

“Hi guys – can I get some tea for us?”

Guys were at the Gujarat Tourism stall and were not actually handing out tea or anything; they were there on official business, and we were kinda crashing their play. Alas, nice people as they are, they were happy to accommodate us. But …

“Tea is available, C@%$ not available.”

The dull-eared Slovenian kitist interpreted that ‘C@%$‘ as ‘coffee‘. So – tea is available, coffee is not. Cool.

“Oh, I don’t need coffee, thank you – just three cups of tea.”
The guys were puzzled, and tried the eternal trick of speaking with dumb foreigners: repeat, just slowly.
“Tea … is … available, … C@%$ … not … available.”
It didn’t work.

“Yes, I understand that coffee is not available, but I don’t need coffee – just tea!”
Try again.
“Tea … is available, … tea is here – tea yes! But … C@%$ not available – no C@%$ …”
Now the Slovenian was losing his patience.
“Look, I get it. No coffee. Ok. I don’t need coffee! I need tea! Just tea! Three – cups – of – tea – please!”

One of the guys took something from the trash and showed it to the dumb foreigner. And repeated even more slowly.

“C @ % $ … are … NOT … avai-lab-le!”

The half-deaf kitist finally focused on the thing that was shoved in his face – and realised what a stupid ass he has been the whole time. The guy was holding – a cup. Tea is available … CUPS are not!

After a long session of profuse apologies, and laughs, he came back to our place without tea. But this was not the end of the story: half an hour later those great guys of Gujarat Tourism Dwarka came to our stall with a bag of hot, sweet, perfect Indian tea, and three cups. Saved our lives!

Guys, if you read this: thank you, you are the best!

Kite flying session went on into the afternoon. Even the firefighters of Gujarat helped – some got the top wind, others a well needed shadow.

Friends in high places

While we were waiting for the buses to start their engines and carry us to the famous temple of Dwarka, and on to Somnath, the life of Gujarat did a crazy show again: a cow was having a baby, a brand new calf! Just beside the road, less than 100 meters from where we were standing!

Gregor as an avid watcher of The Incredible Doctor Pol and a true couch veterinarian was having some doubts about the position of the newborn-to-be, but as he had only kiting gloves (and no surgical ones), he decided to let the Nature take its course. “Everything will be OK, she knows what she’s doing,” he reassured us.

Dwarka itself is no joke. It was the home of Krishna himself, after all! The legend says Dwarka was built on a piece of land that was reclaimed from the sea by Krishna, and he built himself and his wife Rukmini a splendid palace there. The archaeologists and historians say that Dwarka is a very very old city – Dwaraka kingdom is mentioned in Mahabharata! – and the oldest found remains date back to 200 BCE.

The heart of Dwarka is a fantastic, immense shrine: the Dwarkadhish temple, its most holy part as the Jagat Mandir. It is huge; the oldest parts are over 2.000 years old, and the main complex was built in the 16th century. It is one of the four most holy places of Hinduism, the ‘west’ part of the Char Dham (together with temples of Jangannadh, Rameswaram, and Badrinath). It is a supreme example of Hindu religious architecture, design and decoration.

And it was closed, of course.

The road from Dwarka to Somnath graces the coast of Saurashtra, the Gujarati peninsula jutting out into the Indian Ocean. The scenery became greener and wetter as we rolled to the southeast, with the almost-desert and dry savannah type of shrubby flora giving way to rice fields and palm plantations. Where the sea touches the land, a large swaths of perfect sand conspire to create some rather famous beaches.

Let’s stop at the beach!

Sure we did … we stopped at the famed Madhavpur beach just as the sun went down, and you know how short the evenings are in these latitudes: it was dark in a couple of minutes. While this was cool for Gregor who went to raise the sea level single-handedly under the soft cover of the night, swimming was of course out of the question. But – there were camels!

Those gentle artiodactyles were chewing on god-knows-what and looked at us crazy kitists with a considerable amount of scepticism. Really? You? On me? Can you handle it?

Aji and Juan went first

It wasn’t long when the bravest went sailing on a camel, and after some peer pressure even Ivor said he wanted to try. When, if not now – where, if not here – who, if not me! And lo and behold: Ivor riding his Ducati camel as a pro!

Until the time was up and he had to descend …

Seconds from disaster

We have no comment as to the resolution of this event, and we can neither confirm nor deny anything untoward had happened to Ivor, or to the camel, or anyone.

It was late at night, we still had some 80 kilometers to Somnath (two hours? three?), yet the day was not over. It had one last hit, quite literary.

A Balinese woman, Helmi, was chatting with Federico, Oscar and Gregor, and engrossed in the conversation she surely was not paying attention to anything else. A cow, sacred as it is, was going from point A somewhere behind the beach to point B in the fields in a very un-cow-like straight line, also not paying attention to anything but her destination. And the cow’s trajectory intersected the position of Helmi – its horns aiming straight at her lower back.


Yelp!!!” … Helmi jumped up and away from the horned beast, which simply continued on its straight line with the same measured pace.

And what did the guys do when disaster struck, witnessing a terrifying cow/woman crash? Comfort and console? inquire as to well-being? Offer refreshments, painkillers, cigarettes, drugs? No … They started to dance and shout and cheer:

¡Ay, caramba!

The culprit’s cousin

Even though it was less of a Tauromaquia and more of a Helmimaquia – nothing had really happened. No cow was harmed in the process, and Helmi stopped her chatting but for a minute.

We got to Somnath in less than two hours time, thanks to our own Snake Plissken, Manoj.


Join us again for Chapter 4 – in which we shock the good people of Somnath with a giant flying Human fish, we kickstart the venerable Indian industry of Beedis, encounter another wild boar, and have a roof rave under a purple sky. Till then!

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