A pretty, colourful thing usually made of paper, so light that it flies like a bird in the sky, gliding along as the wind blows, turning almost every adult into kid, as they tug the strings to keep them afloat in the air. As you guys have guessed by now, yes we are talking about kites, one of the creative inventions by man (well apart from selfie sticks, that has to be the next best thing everyone loves ;)).
As the legend goes kites came into existence about 2000 years ago, by a mere accident when a Chinese farmer from Shandong, the eastern most province of China tied down his hat with a string to keep it from flying by the wind. This sounds quite simple and not so complicated. But over the years kites have become quite popular all over the world and have been used for various purposes from entertainment, sending messages, fishing to furthermore extending towards aeronautics to military purpose.
Flying kites in India has gained a lot of historical significance and is an important part of celebrating certain festivals. In cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Hyderabad, people arrange Patang (kite) fight during the festival of Makar Sankrant, which is celebrated every year on 14th January marking the arrival of spring and end of winters. The sky is covered with thousands of beautiful kites and friends and families gather around in rooftops competing with each other in a playful way, sending the kites soaring in the air trying to cut through and pull down others kites. Everyone from kids to adults find a beautiful way to bond and play on this day spreading the excitement and happiness around.
Apart from this, many kite enthusiasts arrange Kite festivals on various occasions and we were lucky enough to attend one in our hometown, Mangalore. We have been reading about this Kite Festival conducted in one of the famous beaches in Mangalore for years but could never make it. Finally this year we managed to attend this festival, which was held last week (15th and 16th January) at the Panambur beach and it was absolutely fantastic. Participants from different countries like Cambodia, Australia, Netherlands, Italy, Singapore and Kuwait flew down to Mangalore to take part in this festival and decorated the sky with their beautiful creations and amazed us all.
It was a perfect and pleasant evening at the pristine beach with the cool winter breeze blowing from the sea and sky filled with beautiful kites in different shapes, sizes and forms. As we walked around the venue we could spot varied characters from Superman, Charlie Chaplin to the character from local Tulu dance form Bhuthada Kola in the sky. It was exciting to watch so many different varieties of kites flying high in the sky as people gathered around in wonder and cheer their favorites. While some people engrossed themselves in the show, other visitors purchased their own kites from the street vendors and flew it.
Passing through the busy throng of people we searched for a perfect vantage point to watch the kite flyers in action and to know how they manage to keep them up floating in air. We stood there for a long time quite intrigued and fascinated with competitive yet friendly rapport among the participants, as they launched their kites and wooed the crowd.
The International Kite Festival in Mangalore has been held since the year 1998 and was arranged by the Rotary Club inviting kite enthusiastic from all over the world to take part and showcase their creations. With their motto as “one kite, one earth, one family”, the Mangalore Kite Festival has been successful in bringing out the awareness and passion for kite flying among locals.