Kite Flying in Nepal

Nirmal Man Tuladhar
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Kite flying in Nepal is seasonal and associated with one of the biggest festivals, Desain, a harvest celebration dedicated to the goddess Durga. The most joyous time of the year in Nepal, Desain is celebrated all over the country, by all castes and creeds, both Buddhist and Hindu. The festival takes place during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon in late September or early October. By this time, the monsoon rains are normally over and the rice harvest completed. The weather is pleasant, neither hot nor cold. The sky is clear and blue. A cool wind blows. It is very favorable weather for kites.

Nepali kites are of the Malay type—a two-sticker without a tail. The sticks are of equal length and are crossed and tied with the center of one at a spot one-seventh the distance from the top of the other. A bridle attached to the kite has two legs, one from the top of the diamond and the other from the lowest point, meeting a little below the crossing of the sticks. A string pulled tight across the back of the crossstick bows the surface, making the kite self-balancing. A handmade paper known as lokta is used for the skin of the kite.

In Nepal, kites are flown from roofs and porches of houses, in the Indian style. A big reel for line with two spools on either side is used. The reel has a round, smooth stick coming out from each center of the spools. Either end of the stick snuggles between thumbs and index fingers. Kite string is reeled in by turning the two spools clockwise.

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