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The History Of Kite Flying In India

14-01-2018 08:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream

The History Of Kite Flying In India | My Indian Dream

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Kites occupy a special place in the hearts of Indians

Kites have existed in India for centuries and its presence dates far back to the thirteenth century which is evident from its mention in the numerous poetic verses penned by prominent Indian poets.

Kites in India are called  ' Patang' and ‘Guddi’. The mention of kites in Indian literature proves that kites have an enjoyed an important role in India. It was the Mughals who popularized kites in India during the 16th century. Mughal emperors- Babar, Akbar and Shah Jahan promoted kite flying events and enjoyed viewing them from the delicate windows of their palaces. They are also known to reward the winners handsomely.

Kites were not only used as sports but also to convey messages. This aspect of kite flying has been depicted in Rajput and Mughal miniature paintings from the 16th century-18th century. Most of these valuable paintings, however, are in the collection of the British Museum, London.

These miniature paintings captured the information of that era which showed three styles of kites, a rectangular kite, a shield like a kite, known as ‘Tukkal’ and somewhat rarely the diamond-shaped fighter kite or the ‘Patang.’ The tribe of kite makers is known as Patangbaaz.

It is also known that in the initial stage, the kite was made in the form of Prism and was called Tinkoni Kandeel. Inside the kandeel, a small ball of rags soaked in oil is suspended with the help of wire. When it was lit,  hot air fills the tinkoni Kandeel and it then starts rising in the air. The view is a delight for the eyes as the beautiful lighted lamp ascends towards the sky. It was basically considered a  ‘Night sport’.

It is said that for the purpose of daytime flying, it was modified into a quadrangular shape that rendered better mobility and control to the kite flyers.

The Nawabs of 18th century Lucknow also popularized kite flying activities. The sport of kite flying was considered as one of the things that gave pleasure in life, so it flourished in the luxurious days of the Nawabs. Nawabs are known for their grandeur and extravagance and their kites were just as magnificent. They were made by renowned kite makers who created extraordinary kites exclusively for the Nawabs.

 From the days of the Nawab, Oudh or Uttar Pradesh has been well known for kite making and kite flying. Later this sport became popular in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. It has become very popular in Ahmedabad where the International Kite Festival is held annually. People from all over the world attend this festival and display their unique and amazing kites.

Kite flying has also almost become synonymous with the festival of  Makar Sankranti when people gather on rooftops and terraces and engage in joyful kite flying. The sky is dotted with colorful kites as the weather is pleasant at this time of the year and perfect for kite flying. So, if you haven’t flown a kite yet, just grab one and try your hand at it to keep this wonderful tradition of kite flying alive.


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