Articles

  • In a country where millions of kites are churned out every year to live out their brief, ephemeral lives doing battle in the skies before being reduced to a scrap of tissue paper and two thin strips of bamboo, the kitemakers themselves are almost always totally anonymous. Babu Khan was the exception. A kite made by Babu was a treasure, for Babu Khan was a kitemaster – one of the finest kitemakers in India.
  • A hobby and sport in the West and a religious celebration in the East, kiting became international in the last two decades through increased global travel and because the internet made verbal connections fast and easy. Intelligent patronage by the Drachen Foundation helped these developments significantly.
  • One of the best aspects of the world of kiting is that it encompasses the world. Experiencing kites means you travel, or as we say, “go with the wind.” Over the years, we have had the pleasure of learning about kites of various countries and also meeting those special individuals who guide us through these kite encounters. Such is the case of Vijay Nathaniel, whose personal interest in the fighter kites of his country brought him to help with many of the wonderful Desert Kite Festivals orchestrated by his friend Ajay Prakash.
  • It may not look like much, but the shop complex displaying kites in the Jodphur bazaar (above) constitutes one of the largest hand-made kite manufacturing operations in the world. Jodphur is in India's desert state of Rajasthan. Working in a warren of dark, cramped spaces, the Baylim family and some 20 employees produce upwards of four million Indian fighter kites yearly. Using colored paper, bamboo and glue, the workers turn out the kites assembly line-style, with each doing just a designated portion of the cutting, bending, and pasting.
  • There's something old and new in the wind! Have you glimpsed them out of the corner of your eye, on the kite festival fields, flying in the skies over parks and beaches? Darting, spinning, bee-like butterflies might be a better description of the diamond shapes sparkling in the sunlight, changing their course, flitting here and there like playful butterflies. That all sounds nice and a pretty picture, too, but it's also an exciting, pulse-pounding experience.
  • If you love kites and are skilled at photography, how do you put the two together to make a vocation? Nicolas Chorier, 37, of Montpellier, France, faced this question a few years ago. His answer was: aerial kite photography.
  • "When the city of Jodhpur joined hands to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Umaid Bhawan Palace in 1993, there were festivities throughout the year," he notes. "One was a kite festival, conceived by myself. The festival was very successful and it got known in the kite world."
  • Japan has its kite extravaganzas such as Hammamatsu. France presents an unrivaled panoply of the sport at beautiful seaside Dieppe in Normandy. But for sure brio the Makar Sankranti fetival throughout India, and in Jaipur in particular, on January 14 each year is hard to top. On this day, as the sun ascends for the first time into the northern hemisphere, millions of Indians mark a time of rebirth by taking to the rooftop terraces in their cities and towns to fly fighter kites equipped with ground glass cutting lines. The object is to slice another kite-any kite-out of the sky.
  • One of the richest and most rewarding kite adventures ever experienced is that of a trip into the heart of India to be a participant in the living heritage of Indian fighter kiting. Members of The Drachen Foundation were guests of the Indian government in January of 1998 and traveled extensively through this Asian country exploring India's passion for and development of the fighter kite. Foundation staff discovered that India is not difficult, but one of the last honest and accessible kite adventures to be explored.
  • After four trips to China, even I was surprised at my own reluctance to travel to India. I just couldn't convince myself that the positive experiences would outweigh the negative. Horror stories of other group tours did nothing to persuade me that the kites of India were worth the trouble of travel to India.