Nepali Times
Life Times
Kite Runners

ACE PILOTS: Nirmal Man Tuladhar (left) runs with his Nepali kite at the biannual kite festival in Dieppe, France, recently. Tuladhar holds a huge lokta kite with his partner Ramesh Shrestha (right).

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.

Lately, our own skies have been dominated by the "Lucknow" changa with their frilly and frisky avatars. Tuladhar wants to revive the tradition of the lokta changa, and says the Dieppe championship was the perfect place to showcase the amazing flying machines from Nepal.

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.

Shahani Singh

Soaring and Sparring

How to make a Nepali Fighter Kite

Materials needed:

* 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

Bridle :
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

1. Ananda P Shrestha
Congrats to Nirmal Tuladhar and Ramesh Shrestha for representing Nepal and the unique variety of Nepali lokta fighting kites in the annual kite flying meet in France to the world at large. The copious coverage of the history and spirit that the Kite Festival was accorded was indeed welcome and very informative. �Congrats to the Nepali Times as well!

2. Ram
Congratulations to Tuladhar and Shrestha for keeping the lokta kite alive. I have a feeling that it will never die out. No matter how much competition the lucknow ones might create. I do like both kinds equally though.

TMI alert...

I miss flying kites! This was my favorite pastime back in Kathmandu. Kite season started for me in Jestha and ended in Kartik. I was such a rabid kite flyer that that I had to be taken to the doctor for ridiculously bloodshot eyes. I flew kites in hot summer afternoons, in monsoon downpours (yes, paper ones), and even when when it was dark.Oh, and I got chased countless times for tresspassing into neighbors' properties to bag  "chet" kites. 

Anyone else have stories of Kite flying and want to share?

3. Rajeeev Dangol

hatts off to nirmal and ramesh ji for their successful participation in kite world cup kite fightiing festival. their approach now should be to promote kite flying tradition within the country. It seems like children of today are carried away by video games and other forms of sports and are deprived of fun of kite flying. As a child i was a good kite flyer myself and take pride in being one today as well. their efforts should be now to promote this art among kids of today. Its dashain now and still the sky seems less colorful than it used to be 10-15 years ago.  

4. kd
ram, i don't know if anyone has done this, but i flew a kite at 19,000 ft at makalu base camp in 1980. it was a "lucknow changa" and i noticed that the aerodynamics is completely different in the cold, thin air up there. the changa is much more frisky. the kite was flying very nicely until a gust of wind made it disintegrate in the air!

5. Bronwen Bledsoe
Fabulous! Sail on, you intrepid flyers.

6. a commoner
but...... who won the tournament??

7. S. R. Tuladhar

I could never imagine a full grown human being could be smaller in compare to his own Kite flown in the
3"0th Fighting Kite World Cup"  in Dieppe, France. Khudos to you both for combating with the world class Kite fighters. But as said by the other commenter, had there been a result who won the game?
You are indeed a pride to our country. Keep going.................

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)