The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 15 , 2014
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Kites to soar in pursuit of leisure

High on Makar Sankranti spirits, residents are waiting for the kite festival to kick-start at Sabbalpur Diara.

On Wednesday, the skies over the sandbar would dazzle with thousands of colourful kites, thanks to the tourism department’s initiative to organise a kite festival at the diara.

The event would be an amalgamation of art and culture from Gujarat and Odisha.

Professional kitist Mehul Kumar and his group from Gujarat and the globally acclaimed sand artist from Odisha, Sudarsan Patnaik, would showcase their art forms at the sandbar.

Kite enthusiasts would be given around 200 kites and spindles for free by the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC).

“We have completed all preparations for the kite fest. The district administration has identified 15 country boats, which would take people from the riverbank to the sandbar. Apart from the enthralling kite-flying experience, people could also savour the delicacies being offered at the snack parlours. The industries department has also set up handicraft and pottery stalls among others,” said a senior BSTDC official. There has been a tradition of kite flying in Bihar. The months, however, vary when one travels across the state.

In north Bihar districts, kite flying is a summer event. South of Ganga, the tradition of kite flying has been a bit different and the residents go for it during winters.

As far as organising the kite festival is concerned, chief minister Nitish Kumar had first floated the idea in 2010.

The purpose was to attract tourists to the sandbar and also tag the kite flying event with Makar Sankranti, a festival observed after the end of the Hindi month of Kharmas, during which no auspicious work is done by the Hindus.

This year, initially Nitish was supposed to inaugurate the fest but sources in the BSTDC on Tuesday said he had prior engagements because of which he might not come to the event on Wednesday.

“In the absence of Nitish, development commissioner Alok Kumar Sinha is expected to inaugurate the kite fest,” said the BSTDC official.

Renowned professionals, who have come to Patna to regale residents, seemed highly enthusiastic about the festival.

“Based on the theme ‘Save Ganga’, I have made a 13-foot-tall sculpture of Goddess Ganga using 10 tonnes of sand. It is my first visit to Patna and I like the city. In fact, I would request the chief minister to organise an international sand festival to promote sand tourism in Bihar and conserve Ganga,” said Patnaik.

Pathak, a professional kitist from Ahmedabad, is here for the fest for the third consecutive year.

Kites brought by ace flyer last year, included Sponge Bob (based on a cartoon character measuring 20m), octopus (a yellow and black kite measuring 8m), bee (12m) and snake (50m). He arrived with his group on Tuesday evening.

However, it was not only the specialised kitists who were enthusiastic about the fest. Residents were equally upbeat.

“I have been flying kites since childhood. I think Sabbalpur Diara is the best place in the city to fly kites because it offers a large open space. I have made two rolls of manjha (2-km long) for my kites. I hope the weather remains favourable on Wednesday,” said Ravi Parmar, a resident of SK Nagar.

Parmar is set to visit the sandbar with his friends and family.

Wow & windy

Kitists can expect moderate wind speed on Wednesday. Weathermen have predicted an average wind speed of 6-8kmph on Wednesday.

“Fog is expected in the morning but it would clear out by 12noon. The remaining day would be bright and sunny,” said Ashish Sen, the director of India Meteorological Department, Patna.

The Met office predicted that the maximum temperature would to be around 18°C and the minimum would be around 10° C over the next two days.

Sen, however, predicted statewide light rainfall on January 17 and 18 because of western disturbance.

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