Kite Flying in India Q & A – Part One: of Monkeys and Stars

KAP Jasa – kite team Slovenia has been a part of the International Kite Festival Gujarat 2024 for the fourth time now (check out our reports from 2023!), but our adventures in India did not end there. Half of the team went to the beaches of Goa to get some well-deserved rest, and then went on to the heart of Karnataka, flying kites in kite festivals of Belagavi, Nipani, and Hubbali. As we get a lot of questions about a lot of stuff that happened (or may have happened, or did not happen at all), we compiled them in this multi-part Q&A session. Enjoy!

Dear KAP Jasa team!

Is it true that a kite festival is a circus – and you are the monkeys?

Best regards,
DeAnne Foster, Finland

Dear DeAnne!

Yes! … and, no.

Yes, because a huge kite festival is a fantastic, incredible aerial circus. Yes, because we kite flyers are working like hell to make the organizers and especially the crowds happy.

Note – Sandesh (in the middle) is the organizer of Belagavi International Kite Festival, so he’s more of a circus owner than a monkey … ๐Ÿ˜‰

And no, because we are treated like rock stars for all the hard work we do.

A day at the kite field in India starts at 9 AM and ends at 8:30 PM.

Yes, there is a lunch break.

And other breaks …

But mainly, the day (and night) is all about pulling strings, disentangling tangled strings, launching kites, pulling kites from roofs and antennas …

And it’s beautiful:

As with every circus, a kite festival is all about the crowds. And as Indian people are crazy about kites, the crowd in Ahmedabad is immense, loud, and eager to see the monkeys perform.

And who wouldn’t want to perform in front of such a devoted crowd?

So you pull the strings, you entangle and disentangle, you launch and land and salvage, and you wait and you fly some more … it’s work work work, and at five PM a guy comes and excitedly says: “It’s night flying tonight! Yay!”

Really …?

Night flying can be the most fantastic part of a kite festival – the LED-carrying kites shining, changing colours, lighting the sky … even we brought some cheap christmas lights with us to be a part of the happening, and tried to fly them on a trilobite and on a rokkaku. It was … well, pathetic.

Because when there is no wind – and in Ahmedabad the wind is low during the day, and usually falls to absolute zero in the evening! – night flying is a frustrating and exhausting experience. You and your fellow kiters run up and down the field, trying to put kites up into the sky that is already bright due to sand and smoke in the air and powerful reflectors all around … It was a hard day’s hard night, and by 8:30 we were completely out.

And, mind you, we started that day at five in the morning!

The International Kite Festival Gujarat opens with a huge ceremony, befitting the great city of Ahmedabad, the proud state of Gujarat, and the enormous work of Gujarat Tourism and the intrepid organizers of the festival.

The VIP folks with the Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendrabhai Patel needed almost as much patience as we did, as the speeches and the cultural programme dragged on and on and on … Then finally His Excellency declared the 2024 IKF Gujarat open – and more than two hundred kiters from all over the world paraded around the central stage.

And the illustrious crowds of Ahmedabad were going berserk …

And then it was finally flytime! Hundreds of eager kite flyers filled the field and filled the sky with incredible, enormous, colourful and funny creatures of the wind. The circus was in town again!

So, DeAnne, back to your original question … Yes, it is a circus, and we are the monkeys. And no, for we are the stars of the festival; pampered, cheered, taken care of. I mean, look at this:

Kids of Nipani going berserk when the kites go up …

There is more, DeAnne. When this festival was over, one half of kite team Slovenia headed home, and the other half joined a group of kite flyers onwards for another exhausting round of kite flying in India. But the incredible organizers knew what a toll IKF Gujarat took from us, so they sent us to a nice place to recuperate for a couple of days …

… on the sandy beaches of Goa!

Of course we made an impromptu kite festival on the beach – what, we are monkeys even when the circus leaves the town! But that’s a story for another day …

7 thoughts on “Kite Flying in India Q & A – Part One: of Monkeys and Stars”

  1. Something special for DeAnne Foster, Finland.

    I Estonian wolf have been 11 years on this Circus and turned in to monkey.
    Also already 20 years Estonian wolves taken a part of Mothersday kite flying in Suomenlinna(Helsinki). Some years we also taken with us some German Fรผhresrs. They also liked to bee monkeys time after time. Dear DeAnne Foster, Finland you have chance to visit Suomenlinna piknik fly in second weekend in mai.
    welcome to our circus. And may be you have chance to turn in to monkey also.
    We like our Monkeybusiness!
    Andres from Tallinn ๐Ÿ™‚


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