The New Town sky was dotted with peacocks and frogs one Sunday afternoon. The animals were actually kites shaped to amuse visitors at Vo Katta 2013, a kite festival held at Eco Tourism Park.
The event was held on January 20 and drew participation of enthusiasts from around the country. It began with a shower of flowers from a helicopter that hovered over the venue. Once the games were declared open, participants were divided into two sections — competition and exhibition.
The competitive event was that of kite fights with fliers trying to snap each other’s strings. Various kite clubs had sent their representatives to the event but it was finally Rakesh Shaw of Calcutta who won. The runners-up were Nawab Agha and Imtiaz Khan, both from Lucknow.
The non-competitive fancy kite flying display was an attractive affair. There were massive kites shaped like eagles, bearing images of goddess Durga and freedom fighter Bhagat Singh and a single string holding on to several Indian flags. These kites did not use manja on the strings as some of these cost over Rs 1 lakh to make and no flier would want to risk theirs getting damaged.
While most of the fliers tried to impress by flying kites as large as possible, Arjun Khatri of Mumbai flew miniature kites. “Making small kites adds another dimension to kite-flying,” said the 63-year-old Khatri who is a member of the Golden Kite Club. “This is my second trip to Calcutta. We like flying where we get good response from the crowd and New Town has been great,” he said.
The kite clubs had also put up their stalls to interact with visitors and there was a kite history gallery and a creative kite stall to engage enthusiasts. Moutushi Kundu, a resident of Salt Lake’s AG Block, had come to the festival with her family. “I have never been able to fly kites but I like watching the fancy ones in the sky,” she smiled.
Manoj Bajaj, a resident of GC Block, had come with his entire family including parents, wife and two kids. His daughters Vedika and Prachita were most excited about the kites. “I liked the eagle-shaped kite,” said Prachita, a lower-kindergarten student. Sonja Harshvardhan, a resident of Rajarhat, said she had been awaiting the event the past 10 days. “We do not get to see such events often in Calcutta,” she said.
The event also witnessed the release of over 1,000 pigeons and hot air balloons. There were also dance programmes and a show by singer Nachiketa.
“We had got more than 500 entries for this festival, but chose just 32 for the event,” said Surajit Ghosh, head of administration and marketing, Benchmark Developers, that organised the festival. “Since we got such a positive response this year, we shall make this an annual event and maybe even go international from next year.”
Pictures by Mayukh Sengupta