For a sport that is more than 2,000 years old, kite flying hasn’t got stuck in a time warp. It is constantly evolving, and to celebrate this, Delhi Tourism is hosting the second edition of its International Kite Festival over the weekend. Kite makers and fliers from across the country, along with international artistes from the UK, France, Thailand and Indonesia, have gathered in the city to showcase their flights of fancy.
The 110-ft-long Kobra, from Mumbai’s Golden Kite Club, is one of the attractions of the festival. Team Mangalore, a group of kite lovers from this coastal town of Karnataka, has brought Indian culture alive through kites in the shape of Garuda or a Kathakali dancer.
“Making kites and flying them is our hobby and passion,” says Sarvesh Rao, a businessman and passionate kite maker. The group holds the Limca record for its 32-ft-long Kathakali kite – the biggest in the country.
Ashok Shah from Maharashtra has travelled across the world with his kites. Having dedicated himself to kite-making for the past 19 years, Shah’s collection is sized between one inch and 200 inches. His best works are the tiger kite and a 3D boat kite.
Most kite makers stick to ‘rip lock’ nylon as material for their winged fancies, but Thailand’s Elly prefers more environment-friendly options.
Coming from a country where flying kites is an ancient tradition, practiced by farmers to celebrate good harvest, this young artiste makes kites out banana skins. “As a child I enjoyed this tradition and learnt how to make kites from the farmers,” Elly says.
It wasn’t as a child that Graham Lockwood got interested in kites. He developed the passion to entertain his children. “My children never liked these much, but I started taking an interest in them,” says this kite-flier from the UK. Lockwood adds new meaning to the art of kite flying with his performance.
He can fly up to three kites at the same time, with two of them operated by his either hands and the other attached to his waist – all to the tune of foot-tapping music. The next time you see a kite-flier, don’t miss the art.