A History of Kite Flying: How it becomes a festival.

Kite festival

The kite flying festival in India falls on the 14th of January every year, marking the arrival of spring and the transition of the sun into the Makara Rashi 

In the late 13th century, European explorer, Marco Polo, describes in his book (1295) kites and their man-lifting capabilities after seeing Chinese merchants using kites to determine whether a voyage would be prosperous or not.

Since World War II, two kite innovations, Francis Rogallo’s flexible-wing (1948) and Domina Jalbert’s parafoil (1964) kites have helped develop modern hang-gliders and sports parachutes respectively.

It’s unclear when kites were invented. Many scholars believe that they were developed in China. Other evidence suggests that kites were used by cultures in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the South Pacific. For fishing instruments made of natural materials like leaves and reeds. Anthropological evidence suggests that kites may have been independently developed in other areas, but these claims are not well documented.

Materials which are used in kite making

Over the years, both kite-flying and kite-making skills have evolved. From the ancient delicate ones made of paper and wooden sticks. They are now made with flexible materials that make them more resilient. Shaped like a diamond, they have a center spine and a bow-shaped intersecting spine that gives shape to the kites.

Most of us have experienced the joy of watching vibrant kites soaring in the sky, if not flying one. Come spring, the Indian sky is often dotted with colorful kites of all shapes and sizes. One can occasionally find a kite runner or two dangerously dashing through the gullies collecting the ones cut. While, over the years, this popular pastime and sport might have lost mass popularity, on occasions such as Makar Sankranti, Baisakhi, and Independence Day. Kids and adults continue to indulge in it with fervor and passion

How flying was turned into a sport?

Under the Mughals, kite flying was turned into a sport. The design was also enhanced for better aerodynamics. Mughal paintings and miniatures from the time show both men and women flying kites. It is believed that upon Jahangir’s return to Delhi from a three-year exile in Allahabad in 1812. The residents of the city flew kites to celebrate his return while his mother offered a chadar. Today it is known as a Phool Walon ki Sair. There is even a mention of kite flying in Maulana Abul Halim Sharar’s translated work Lucknow. The Last Phase of an Oriental Culture; he wrote that the interest in It. Kites grew during the reign of King Shah Alam I in the eighteenth century. His account reveals that tikkas, which were similar to a Chinese lantern in the 18th century’. That ‘the word patang emerged to denote the best type of tikkas.

Kites were used not only for scientific purposes like studying weather and understanding the atmosphere In 19th century. But for lifting (lifting objects like cameras, thermometers, and people) and traction (using kites to pull things like carriages).

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