International kite fliers enthrall Delhi crowds

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Kites of all colours, hues, sizes and shapes dotted the skyline of Delhi Tuesday as the 26th International Kite Festival opened here.

Over 40 participants from countries like France, Russia, Ukraine, Malaysia, Vietnam and Estonia and from over 10 Indian cities showed off their kite-flying skills through the day, leaving onlookers awestruck. This is the third time the festival has opened in the national capital.
Forty-one-year-old Stanislav Kolbintsev from Moscow was flying a hexagon-shaped kite made from nylon that sported pictures of the prominent Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg as well as the Kremlin, which houses the offices of the Russian government in Moscow.
“When you think of Russia, you think of these two monuments and a lot of people, especially kids, are enthralled by the colourful designs. They want to see the kite close, so I keep bringing it down at regular intervals,” Kolbintsev, who fell in love with kite flying a decade ago while in England, told IANS.
The Russian also runs a kite-flyers’ club “Kite Universe” back home in Moscow, which organises four kite-flying events round the year.
Another participant, Antonio Lino, 52, from France said: “This is my first visit to India. I have got two kites, one a huge rectangular one that is black in colour and the other one in the shape of a chili. I took the latter to festivals in Indonesia and the Philippines. However, I have made the black one especially for this festival in India.”
All participants were using the mandatory nylon thread that does not cause any harm because it is thicker and soft unlike the traditional “manjha” (glass-powdered thread) that injures people and birds alike.
Holding the reeling spindles tightly wound with thread, the locals too joined the e;ite kite flyers, cheering and whistling every time kites made of different materials like plastic, nylon, cloth, paper, etc. took flight.
The festival, organised by Gujarat Tourism and inaugurated in the national capital, will culminate at the Sabarmati river front in Ahmedabad Jan 14.
“After Delhi, the event will move to Mumbai tomorrow (Wednesday) and then to four places in Gujarat before reaching Ahmedabad,” Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited liaison officer Soman Pathy told IANS.