A sky filled with kites

A child enjoying the kites flying over the skies during the Puducherry Kite Festival 2015 in Puducherry on Friday.

A child enjoying the kites flying over the skies during the Puducherry Kite Festival 2015 in Puducherry on Friday.  


Professional flyers from across the world attend fest

Flying crocodiles and air-borne octopuses may sound like the stuff of fantasy fiction for children, but an assortment of creatures have actually taken to the skies at the International Kite Festival that began here on Friday.

The second edition of the festival, aimed at promoting Puducherry as a great location for kite-flying and kite-making activities, is featuring an array of kite designs from professional flyers from across the country as well as France, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Tourism Minister P. Rajavelu launched the three-day festival which is hosted by the Department of Tourism.

By 4 p.m., the skyline over the New Port Grounds in Uppalam was dotted with kites in a variety of hues and shapes.

A pilot kite with a faint resemblance to a parachute was deployed to help launch some of the larger kites like the 70-footer crocodile kite.

There is the dual string operated stunt kites, which are crowd pullers for their show-stopping manoeuvres, the train kite featuring 130-feet long inter-connected string of smaller kites and the hexagonal Rokkaku, the traditional kite of Japan.

“No one uses paper to make kites the way the typical Indian diamond-shaped kites were fashioned. The standard material is ripstop nylon that is used for parachutes while the string is made from spectra or decron,” said Rajesh Nair, of the non-profit Kitelife Foundation, which is engaged in promoting the sport in India.

“The kite festival means a lot for tourism promotion,” said Mihir Vardhan, Tourism Secretary.

“We’re expecting close to a lakh spectators, especially over the weekend when there is an influx of domestic tourists,” he said.

Professional kite flyers from Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are showcasing their designs and skill sets at the event.

Nicolas Chorier from France and based in Puducherry, John Tan and Irene Teo from Singapore are among the international participants.

“The wind conditions here characterised by a steady flow instead of sharp gusts are just right for the kites we are flying here,” said Abdul Halim, president of a kite-flying club in Malaysia.

Halim, who along with his wife, have participated in kite festivals across Europe, including the Dieppe Kite Festival in France, is attending the Puducherry event for the first time.

“The beauty of being passionate about kite flying is that it bonds together the rich and the poor and practitioners of diverse professions, from engineers to doctors and lawyers,” said Mr. Halim, who will be flying three types of kites, including the traditional Wau bulan.

Some of the sidelights of festival include a sky lantern where experts will fly kites attached to paper lanterns after 6.30 p.m. on Saturday, kite-making workshop for kids above the age of 9, kite-making and flying competition, kite exhibition, ‘rangoli’ contest and a poetry competition on kites.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:06:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/a-sky-filled-with-kites/article7624647.ece

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