February 8 is National Kite Flying Day in the United States. So this weekend dust off that old kite you have lurking in the cupboard and take it for a flight.
Kite flying has been popular for over three thousand years — with kites first being used by the military in ancient China. Kite festivals are held around the world all year long, so we are taking this opportunity to honor the kite and showcase PatangDori.com: a site dedicated to selling kites that are not only beautiful…but fighters!
In January each year, most of western India celebrates Uttarayan, its biggest kite festival. The festival marks the day in the Hindu calendar when winter begins to turn to summer.
During Uttarayan, the skies will fill with kites from dusk to dawn. Almost all normal activity is shut down and everyone takes to rooftops and roadways to fly kites and compete with their neighbors.
The aim is to cut other people’s strings and bring down their kites. Special fighter kites are used that have a line coated with powdered glass, called manja. People run after the cut kites to try and capture them — a practice known as kite running. Normally the person who manages to capture the wayward kite can keep it, so the bigger and better the kite, the more people running after it to try to grab it!
In 2009, Nirma University graduate Hemant Dave had a very disappointing Uttarayan. He didn’t have the time to make his own manja, and a ready-made, low-quality version spoiled his kite-fighting experience.
But his passion for the sport was not diminished — in fact he was inspired to start selling his own quality kites and accessories. He contacted makers of kites, manja, and threads and started his own online store at PatangDori.com.
Hemant now sources his products from all over India: kites from Khambhat and Ahmedabad, and white thread from mills across the country. Although many of his customers are from India and Pakistan, he also sells kites to the US, Australia, Africa, and the UK.
Hemant was even asked to supply kites and accessories inspired by the 1850s for the 2016 Disney movie The Jungle Book, and his kites appeared on the big screen!
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