As Kathmandu gets ready for the Dasain kite season, our own national team has just returned from participating in the 30th Fighting Kite World Cup in Dieppe, France.
The skies over the Channel city blazed with colourful kites from all over the world. What the lokta ladaku changa from Nepal lacked in flashy colour and exotic construction, it more than made up by its maneuverability and fighting spirit.
"The Nepali changa outpaces every other kite in terms of its ability to dive, dodge, spin and soar," says Nirmal Man Tuladhar, who has been leading the Nepal team for more than a decade.
Listed among the 300 biggest world events, in all categories taken together, the Dieppe festival presented all the kite disciplines. Elaborately designed and artistically painted kites from China, Malaysia, Europe, India, and US competed for supremacy. Nepali kites stood out for their unique feature of being one of the few to be flown mainly to fight.
But the festival offers its participants more than a platform for showcasing. Each time it is held, Tuladhar and his partner Ramesh Shrestha are treated to a world of limitless imagination. The skies at Dieppe explode with colour and shape, becoming a gallery of flying artwork.
The festival also offers opportunities for cultural exchange, where kite fliers attend each other's workshops, encouraging the fusion of ideas. Us kite lovers at home could make the best of this exposure by soaking in the spirit for innovation and creativity, perhaps by reviving the distinctive feel and look of Nepali kites to start with.
The kite jamboree is organised every two years and this year it was the 16th Festival.
Soaring and Sparring
How to make a Nepali Fighter Kite
* A split bamboo of 3 mm trimmed to 1.5 mm for a bow stick.
* A split bamboo of 2 mm for spine stick.
* Two bamboo sticks of 1.5 mm for a beard (tail).
* A sheet of lokta paper of 8 gram.
* A glue stick.
|Construct your own kite out of lokta paper|
|Spine stick (length) :||AB = 45.5 cm|
|Wing (width) :||CD = 53.5 cm|
|Side wings :||AC-AD = 36.5 cm|
|Beard (tail) :||EK-FL = 7 cm|
GE-GF = 11 cm
EB-BF = 7.5 cm
GB = 10 cm
|AS = 8.5 cm|
SH = 22 cm
IH = 20 cm
IB = 14 cm
Fold over the wing :
|C-D = 14 cm x 1 cm|
|Bow stick :||65 cm|