On the morning of 5th January, the skies above Eco Park will light up with colours - colours packaged in all shapes and sizes. For the Vokatta International Kite Festival is going to throw up another reason for people to enjoy a winter Sunday morning.
2014 is the second year when such a festival is being organised in Kolkata. The huge expanse of the 480-acre Eco Park is an ideal spot for such an event.
The festival will start at 10 am. To mark the opening, 200 white pigeons would be released. This would be followed by hundreds of gas balloons. Next would come the real attraction – the kite festival. The kites are going to fly all through the day, and even into the evening, when special kites that can be flown in darkness will carry on the aerial display. In the evening, paper lanterns would be released. There is also going to be a musical extravaganza. For children below 14 years, there is something more to enjoy, something really exciting – hot air balloon rides.
'Vokatta' is the Bengali word for the battle cry of the victorious in a
fight between two kites, hence the name of the festival. The word also
signifies a social bonding. In West Bengal, Vishwakarma Puja in
September offers a spectacle of kite-flying competitions.
The kite festival
With the motto ‘Let your dreams fly’, the festival is all set to become one of the highlights of 2014. 2013 was the first year this festival was organised. It became a hugely popular, prompting the organisers to continue it as an annual event.
According to the founder of the festival, Santosh Kumar Jaiswal, as many as 50 well-known international kite flyers are going to join the locals.
Among the big international names are…
- Barbara Meyer, the president of the American Kite Association, and one of the most renowned and successful woman kite fliers in the world
- Johan Van Eeckhout from Belgium, with his 10 m by 5 m Inflatable Delta
- Edo Borghetti from Italy, with his 30 m circular rotating kites
- British avionics engineer Bob Cruikshanks, with his spectacular designs
Besides these, there would be other well-known kite flyers from nations like the Netherlands, France, Indonesia, and others.
Johan von Eeckhout
A circular kite by Edo Borghetti
Kite by Bob Cruikshanks
In 2013, the kite festival was a national-level affair. Seeing the huge excitement, it has been upgraded to international level, the first international kite festival in eastern India.
People of Kolkata are known for celebrating all sorts of festivals. And what better time than a winter morning to celebrate something like a kite festival.
Eco Park has many advantages as the venue of the kite festival. Along with the international kite festival, people of all ages can also have a good time at the park. This green paradise in the city is an ideal place to spend some quality time in the lap of nature, with tourist attractions like butterfly park, bamboo garden, floating fountains and several others.
- Kite-flying has its origin in ancient China. It was spread by traders from China to Korea, and across Asia to India, and to other parts of the world.
- The earliest evidence of kite-flying in India can be found in miniature paintings from the Mughal period, around 1500.
- In Gujarat, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, kite-flying is an integral part of rituals and festivities.
- Ahmedabad in Gujarat holds a big international kite festival on Makar Sankranti every year called Uttarayan, the name signifying the north-bound journey of the sun and advent of winter.
- Jaipur in Rajasthan also has its own annual kite festival.
- In Mumbai, kites are especially flown on Ganesh Chaturthi, when Ganesha, the deity of prosperity and wealth, is worshipped.
- Lahore is famous for the kite festivals on Baisakhi and Basant Panchami.
Kite-flying in Lahore on Baisakhi
Participants fly a large heart-shaped kite at the International Kite Festival in MumbaI