Anatomy of an Indian Kite

Kite flying or Patang Baazi is cultural sport in India which is much loved and savoured especially on Indian spring-time festivals such as Makar Sankranti and Basant Panchami.

The Kite is called a Patang and the string with which it is flown is called 'Dor' in Haryana. While in Punjab they are called Guddi and Manjha respectively. The wood and bamboo roll on which the string is wound is called a 'Hujka', and in Panjabi it is called a 'Charkhadi'. The kites are given different names depending upon the color combination and the design. Names like Danda, Pari, Gilasa, Chand Tara, Shakkar Para, Chhapan Chhuri, Adhiya, Tiranga, Budda, Patiyal, Lepo are common. Romantic verses in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi are sometimes inscribed on the Patangs to send messages to the beloved on whose roof the kite is flown. [link]

Most Indian kites are fighters kites.
Indian Fighter Kite
A "Deluxe Fighter". This is one of India's best fighters, the many pieces of paper help to prevent tearing. Traditionally, the Indian Fighter is made of tissue paper and bamboo; more recently, Mylar or plastic wrap with advertisement logos has been used with bamboo. These kites are fairly inexpensive and can last a long time if taken care of, small rips and tears can be quickly fixed with scotch tape. These fighters can run up to 37" (94 cm).

The larger Indian fighter kites which run around 48" (123 cm), are called "Chagg", and are similar to the Afghani Fighters, although the Afghani kites have more of a curve in the arch. Chagg kites can have decorative designs, but those which are entirely white or black are considered to bring good luck to the flier. This large kite is considered expensive compared to the regular fighters, and is flown by the more wealthy fliers. Sometimes fliers will even attach 100R (Rupees) notes to the kite, symbolizing prestige.[link]

The aim of Indian Fite flying is simple, string your opponents kite. You use your especially glass coated Manjha [string] for this purpose.

Manjha line is cured with a special mix of glue and ground glass. The panda, a weave of nine threads (9 chain) of cotton line coated with Manjha is the most favorite
My grandmother never let me fly any kites from my terrace. She told me that it was quiet common for kids to fall of their terraces in Karachi flying kites.

I spoke to the proprieter of M.K Fite Merchants, Muslim Khan who has been selling kites near Bandra Masjid more many years. How did he did he get into this trade I asked him, he told me that his father was a kite maker in Varanasi's Dal Mandir market and his family have been kite-makers for generations.

M.K  Kite Merchants Bombay

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Geetanjali said...

Wow...I never gave so much thought to Kites! Btw you should have tried getting a job as a photo-journalist with a defi have the flair for it!

PS Am going to hit the Strand sale this weekend...and oh, it happens to be very close to my school if it's in Kamela Raheja school of Architecture:-)

Sudhakar said...

I am obsessed with flying kites. I am from Chennai. I can add some more to your exhaustive post. The kite flying season in chennai is around Diwali. The threads are called manjha threads only. There are basically 2 types of fighter kites - 1. regular(with a triangular tail) & 2. Bana(no triangular tail but a small bunch of paper in the form of cone hangs). Banas are quite bigger. The kite fighting is called "deal". And what else, kids tie a big tail in the kites while an expert flies it with no tail.

Akshay said...

Geetanjali - it's the small things that make India India and kite flying is definitely one of those things.

Looking forward to seeing you tommorrow.

Sudhakar - Great infomation from you - there are not many online resources on kite flying in Tamil Nadu may be you should do a post on it. I know I would read it.

livinghigh said...

aks boy!!!!
1) the kite culture was great! very good knowledge - thanks! excellent pics!
2) the snaps hots of the kids and the old man were excellent.. can c ure a young journo on de move, dude! ;-)
3) i have Calcutta Chromosome too.. excellent book. ;-)

niki yokota said...

oh they are sooo beautifuuuul!! thats very sweet punjabis use it as message to be loved(^^)/

Eileen Delhi said...

Interesting post, Akshay. I'll link it up to my K page. Thanks for your kinds words over there, btw!

Anonymous said...

You have done a good thing, I want M.K Kite Shops Address, Phone No and pincode because I am planning to open a Kite Stores in A.P

Anonymous said...

Nice blog. Reading those kite names reminds me of my childhood :(

Used to love it ...

varaahan said...

Can anybody guide as to how to make a kite ?

Alvin said...

kite flying is also taken as a profession here in chennai i have been to many tournaments and seen guys go head to head in a three deals fashion its a race to two.....and guys are really into this stuff i went for two tournaments and seen guys hands just slit up as the thread is so sharp it cuts better than a knife but they do it for the passion and money....after the tournament is over they pour brandy on the hands of the flyer as a anti-septic its scary but eventful ...... its like being a rockstar only thing you get hands into problem more often ha pain no fame....good blog start recording deals as they call it here and post the on you tube might record few and post them for all you kite flyers.......rock on....

Anonymous said...

Indian kites are becoming popular in Europe now.

I am so jealous you live in India - I love India.

In France where I live it is impossible to buy Indian kites so I have to make my own.

If any one would like to correspond re fighter kites I would be very interested.

Anonymous said...


Kite flying is an interesting sport and the same has to be viewed from that angle. Injury is part of any sport. Kite flyer is participating knowing the consequecnces and thrill of it and none need to bother blood or otherthings

Karunagaraprabhu said...

i want to buy kite thread in chennai please help me my email id is contact number is 9944123826(tamilnadu).

Karunagaraprabhu said...

i want to buy kite thread in india or tamilnadu. i am verymuch interested in it. contact me in . contact no is 9944123826