Colours in the coastal skies

Colours in the coastal skies

Cultural exchange has been a way of sustaining international harmony since ages. As much as we enjoy looking at and understanding cultures, opportunities to represent our own culture are chances for us to connect deeper to our roots as well.

Of the many innovative ways the world has seen cultural exchanges, the one that Mangaluru saw for three days recently is one of the most effective ways. The coastal city of Karnataka organised an international Kite Festival from  January 15 to 17 at Panambur Beach. This year, the festival stepped into its 6th year and merged with the annual Karavali Utsava there.

International participation

The International Kite Festival drew participants from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Netherland and Israel, who arrived with kites that displayed their creativity and cultures. A few Indian states — Gujarat, Rajkot and Karnataka, of course — also showcased their kites as well.

Each team arrived with six to seven kites and flew all of them at the festival. The kite-flyers displayed their artistic ability regarding kite designs as well as costumes.

The kites blanketed the sky in all possible forms — from 2D caricatures to 3D horses and chariots.

The 3D kites, also known as inflatable kites, are filled with air and are flown to the sky using a ‘lifter’, which flies above the kite itself.

A lifter is a parachute-like structure that stabilises a massive kite and keeps it flying for hours. The inflatable kites here took the shape of Hanuman, Spider-Man, horse, lizard, chariot, other superhero figures and strawberries!

There were also kites that raised a voice against global warming and those that displayed native cultures like Yakshagana and Kuchipudi.

Kites that displayed cultural costumes proved to be the biggest attractions of the event, as the crowds could not get enough of them.

The kites of certain teams such as that of Cambodia and Mangaluru were accompanied by native costumes and performances employing the chende (percussion).

The organising committee opines that the International Kite Festival does much more than putting up a mesmerising display of kites in the sky.

The teams that arrive from international locations are taken around Mangaluru on a tour, where they are exposed to indigenous culture, which they take back home.

More so, the teams that arrive to study the kite festival end up implementing better ideas and organising more such festivals in the country.

Dinesh Holla, an active member of the organising committee, says that such consequences are what make the festival worth it.

More than the entertainment factor, the platform to display impeccable creativity combined with a touch of cultural identity is what makes the whole experience awaited. 

Kiran Shenoy, a visitor, says, “It is impressive how a simple act of flying a kite can be turned into a professional thing. Coming to the International Kite Festival is like getting a glimpse of the possibilities of creativity. The childhood experience is given a whole new dimension and presented back to us here.”

Crowd-puller

The sixth International Film Festival saw over 60 massive, creatively successful kites fly the open skies and land in thousands of selfies and photos. The crowd had a memorable time witnessing the phenomenon that is relatively a rarity in India. Kites are known to be a symbolic sport, and this festival has, for six years, added a new dimension to it.

“What is worth admiration is the fact that an International Kite Festival is happening in Mangaluru. The kind of success it has seen in six years is almost unbelievable,” says Madhava Holla, a visitor. Like in Mangaluru, this is the season of kite festivals in other cities of the state as well.