Kolkata, Oct 15 (IANS) Hundreds of kites dotted the sky above the sprawling Brigade Parade Ground here Monday at the one-day International Kite Festival which kicked off the Kolkata Tourism Festival organised by the West Bengal government.
The Tourism Festival will continue through the festive season.
"On the occasion of Mahalaya, we inaugurated the Kite Festival as part of the Tourism Festival, especially for the Durga pujas," state Tourism Minister Rachpal Singh told IANS.
The Kite Festival will showcase kite-flying skills of Indian participants who have won awards at international festivals in Paris, London and Japan.
"The best kite flyers will be awarded. The general public can join in," said Singh.
The Tourism Festival will also incorporate special river cruises beginning Tuesday for tourists who want a riverside view of the city from the Botanical Gardens to Dakshineshwar Kali temple via the Ganges.
"The river cruises will start from Babughat (in central Kolkata). Each cruise will last for two hours. Special jetties have been built at the points where these cruises will commence," Singh said.
Catering to foreign tourists, special buses will ply during the festive season covering the routes of the leading marquees.
"Each bus tour will take the tourists to 10 pandals. We have got one-day tours as well as four-day packages, but the former is most popular and it's already fully booked," said Singh.
To make the pujas an all-inclusive affair, foreigners will also be encouraged to select and award the best puja pandals this year.