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International Kite Festival

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The annual three-day International Kite Festival is held in Jodhpur in Rajasthan and Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

 

In Jodhpur, the festival is held at the Polo Ground. Air Force helicopters release colourful kites from the sky while school children release colourful balloons from the ground. The festival is divided into two sections, one which is a competition section and the other, which is a display section. Kite flyers compete with each other, displaying their skills in order to win the Fighter Kite Competition, while in the display area, people fly their beautiful kites for the Display Flying. Trophies are awarded to winners in both the categories.

 

The Grand Finale of the International Kite Festival in Jodhpur is held in the lawns of the Umaid Bhawan Palace where the finals of the Fighter Kite Competition and Display Flying take place. This is followed by a prize distribution ceremony, a thanks-giving ceremony and a farewell dinner with the Maharaja of Jodhpur. 

The International Kite Festival in Ahmedabad begins at the break of the dawn and continues all through the day without any intervals or breaks. The venue for the event is either the Sardar Patel Stadium or the Police Stadium. This festival attracts international kite flyers and local champions as well, who demonstrate their skills in flying exotic kites.

One of the sidelights of the festival is the Patang Bazaar, which is open 24 hours a day in the heart of Ahmedabad during Makar Sankranti week.


HISTORY OF KITE FLYING

200BC: Huein Tsang flew a kite at night to awe the army of Liu Pang of the Han Dynasty in China.

100BC to 500AD: Kites were used by army generals to send signals and to measure the distance of enemy camps.

960 to 1126: Flying kites became a popular activity of recreation in China. People celebrated the ninth day of the ninth month, a day signifying the banishment of evil, by flying kites.

1542: For the first time, the word 'patang' found mention in Indian literature. It was used by Manzan in 'Madhumalti', where a poet associates the flight of a kite with a loved one.

1752: Benjamin Franklin lofted a kite to prove that lightning was of the same electric matter as the matter that generates electricity. Wooden sticks were fixed to the four corners of a square silk handkerchief and a projecting metal wire with a sharp edge was attached to it. When an electrified cloud passed over the kite, lightning was drawn down through the pointed wire.

1870: Australian inventor Lawrence Hargrave designed box-kites whose stability inspired others to create power-driven aeroplanes.

1896: Alexander Graham Bell designed a kite called Tetra by combining lightweight sticks. He flew Frost King, a kite of 256 cells, and improvised it to have 1,300 and later 3,393 cells. At this time, Samuel Cody also carried out experiments with gliders, which were based on his kite designs.

1902: Samuel Cody's contemporaries, the Wright brothers, were successful in becoming airborne, thus giving birth to the age of aviation.

 

NOTE OF CAUTION:

Manja or glass-coated kite string will cut the wings or throat of a bird if the bird flies into it. To prevent mortality of birds, it is best not to use glass-coated kite strings. One can also prevent injuries to birds by not flying kites during the early hours of the morning and the late evening when birds are more active.

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