Sankranthi in Hyderabad is rather kite flying than anything else. Kite flying starts a week before the festival and ends with the festival. This year, kite flying was sluggish before the festival, because of the mid-exams, but as the festival approached the sales turned out to be good and the sky was dotted with colourful kites.
At Gymkhana grounds
For the first time, the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Hyderabad in association with Kohinoor Kite Flying Club (KKFC) had organized a kite festival at Gymkhana grounds on 13th January, which is the first day (Bhogi) of the festival. According to sources, around 500 denizens gathered and participated in kite flying.
The participants were very excited as they recollected their childhood memories and were also proud to pass on the art of ‘Patanbazi’ to their next generations. Some of them opined, kite flying, in the name of tradition, is all about competitiveness, togetherness and that it teaches all the moral to keep our heads high even in difficult situations, no matter how down you are you can fly high the next moment. Apart from participants and families, spectators also gathered to enjoy the event.
The show stopper of the festival was a massive kite, specially designed by the KKFC, marking the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda. The kite was 12X8 feet height and 2.5 kg weight made of ripstop nylon, bamboo, aluminum and pvc pipes with nylon and dacron strings. These kites cost around Rs. 8,000 and flies at 150m height. The JCI is planning to make the festival as an annual event and wants to educate people the concept of kite flying.
Other kite festivals
Similar kite flying events were organized at Shilparamam and at Exhibition grounds. Night kite flying, a long-standing tradition for the past two decades, was observed at Begum Bazaar. Huge halogen lights with high focusing light, erected on the roof tops of the houses, lighted up the skyline. Families turned up to the roofs in large numbers and indulged themselves in a serious kite flying session.
Though kite sales were sluggish during the first few days before the festival, probably due to the mid-exams, later picked up slowly as the festival approached. Popular wholesale kite markets in the city like Gulzar Houz, Hussainialam and Dhoolpet witnessed hectic activity during the festival as people from nearby districts also rushed to purchase kites.
This year new entrants like PVC (plastic) kites, designed by combining two to three older designs, flooded the market. Fancy kites made of PVC were much in demand, according to sources. In manja category, plastic manjas, locally known as ‘tangoose’, were in great demand. Priced between Rs. 50 and Rs. 200 a bundle, they hurt the sales of traditional manja makers.
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Did you read our section on Sankranthi and Kite Flying Celebrations in Hyderabad.