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Flying colours in the sky

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Relaxed:During the kite flying competition
Relaxed:During the kite flying competition

NIVEDITA GANGULY

It was the day of kites…

The azure skies of Vizag turned into a colourful sight to behold as people came in large numbers to participate in the kite festival organised by Sree Gujarati Samaj at Vihar, Rushikonda. The colourful kites frisking in the sky welcomed the spirit of the Sankranti festival celebrated recently. Around 150 people of all age groups took part in the event. The skies were filled with kites, the beach with people and the air, with exhilaration. As the competition began, the sky soon turned into a battlefield of brilliantly coloured kites in various shapes and designs, some unique, some ordinary, but still exotic enough to capture the hearts of the crowd. It began as a friendly contest but soon passions ran high in the battle of tangled threads. The kite festival was followed by a sumptuous lunch with traditional dishes at Vihar. “The location is great for kite flying because of the beautiful breeze and scenic surroundings. And the delicious food encaps the whole experience,” said Sudhir and Nikhil Oza of Sree Gujarati Samaj. Vihar is planning to make the event an annual feature with added attractions.

Slice of history

Kites were used approximately 2,800 years ago in China, where materials ideal for kite building were readily available: silk fabric for sail material, fine, high-tensile-strength silk for flying line, and resilient bamboo for a strong, lightweight framework. It is believed that leaf kites existed far before that time in Indonesia, based on cave paintings on Muna Island off Sulawesi

The kite was said to be the invention of the famous fifth Century BC Chinese philosophers Mozi and Lu Ban. By at least 549 AD paper kites were being flown, as it was recorded in that year a paper kite was used as a message for a rescue mission

Ancient and medieval Chinese sources list other uses of kites for measuring distances, testing the wind, lifting men, signaling, and communication for military operations.

The earliest known Chinese kites were flat (not bowed) and often rectangular. Later, tailless kites incorporated a stabilising bowline. Kites were decorated with mythological motifs and legendary figures; some were fitted with strings and whistles to make musical sounds while flying.

One ancient design, the fighter kite, became popular throughout Asia. Most variations, including the fighter kites of India, Thailand and Japan, are small, flat, rough, diamond-shaped kites made of paper, with a tapered bamboo spine and a balanced bow. Although the rules of kite fighting varied from culture to culture, the basic strategy was to manoeuvre the kite in such a way as to cut the opponent's flying line.


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