Kite Flying Festival

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Kites are popular during the Indian festival of Makar Sankranti. This spring festival is celebrated generally during mid of January, in accordance with the Indian calender, with millions of people flying kites all over northern India.

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In India the generic name for a kite is 'Patang'. These kites are made of special light-wight kite paper and bamboo and are mostly rhombus shaped with central spine and a single bow.

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In the western Indian state of Gujarat, the celebrations are even bigger. People offer thousands of their colorful oblations to the Sun in the form of beautiful kites. The act stands as a metaphor for reaching to their beloved God, the one who represents the best.

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In North Karnataka, kite flying with community members is also a tradition.

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Although traditionally flying kites is observed as a part of this festival.On this occasion the sky in Jaipur is filled with kites.

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Kite flying is an inevitable part of the festival in Uttar Pradesh.

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People of all ages fly kites from dawn to dusk. Crowded rooftops, fun-loving rivalry to outdo each other in kite flying skills and delicious traditional

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Homes in the localities of various cities in Gujarat turn into kite producing factories with all family members doing their bit in the seasonal cottage business.

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The paper and sticks are cut, the glue is stirred and thousands of kites are prepared in the market. The string is coated with a special glass powder and rice paste, all set to cut each other's strings and knock down the kites. The size of the kite ranges from nine inches to three feet.

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The thread used to fly kites is known as 'Manjaa'.

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Members of various communities irrespective of cast and creed are engaged in the business of kites. Rich or poor, people enjoy this festival in their own ways. The aerodynamic skill, devotion and ingenuity that goes into the kite making and flying is almost a religion in itself, honed to the level of an art form, though it looks deceptively simple.

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The Patang Bazaar (kite market), situated in the heart of Ahmedabad city, is open 24 hours a day during the Uttarayan week.

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And the excitement continues even after dark. The nights see the arrival of the illuminated box kites, often in a series strung on one line, to be launched into the sky. Known as tukkals, these kites add a touch of splendor to the dark sky.

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