Basant is an annual festival of Kite Flying in Lahore, Pakistan. It marks the begining of spring season, usually it starts in mid Feb. When did it exactly start? No one can say it with authority, its been here for centuries, for last few years – its exuberance has lowered downed a bit due to killings by the thread used to fly kites (Dorr). Sky of the city is full of all types of kites of different sizes, shapes & colors.
Art of Kite Flying
Flying Kite is an art – it required a lots of mastery, previously kites used to be flown in open parks, grounds and different parties kinda played a battle by intersecting the thread with other party’s thread. As time passed by people started to fly kites on their roof-top, then it started to be celebrated on nights with lighting, dance parties, barbecue, drum beating and lots of other stuff added flavor into it.
Types of Kites
There are different types of kites, and different terms are used to name them. Usually Kites are of 2 shapes, patang & guddas.
Patang is again categorised into different sub-categories namely, Patang & Kupp. Patang is … let me try to find a show you the image to describe it that how it looks alike as I find it very difficult to describe its shape…
so this is patang, the one in RED-BLUE & yellow – it has been bowed (cut during flying) — people are trying to get hold of it – the term used in Lahore is Lutna – to grab —– (in background you can see the historical shahi mosque of Lahore). The sticks which guys are holding in their hand is called Chaambhaa with bunch of bushes attached to it so that thread of the kite gets entangled in the bushes and doesn’t go away.
another pic of Patang…
Kupp is slightly modified in shape and is a bit vertical and lower portion of the kite is little smaller than the one shown in picture.
Its worth mentioning, perhaps Patang flying is one of the most difficult in kite flying, to hold, manage & then to play battle with Patang is an art which requires a lots of practice, patience.
Patang is usually measured in size in terms of hands Giths, Do Githi (2 hands), Cho Githi, Panj Githi (5 hands) & Saarh are the most commonly used sizes of patang.
Gudda (Rectangular Kite) is another famous type of kite, it also comes in different sizes, variant shapes, colors. Different sizes of Guddas are pona, tawa, dairh tawa, 2 tawa, 2.5 tawa and higher. Based on different designs, it gets different names like Modhay maar, Patti Maar, Lucknow Cut (Nakhlow Kaat), Macharr, Dabbi Maar, Machi Maar, Ik Akhal, 2 Akhal etc..
Chamirna means to get hold of kite (which is cut) with another kite. Like, when 2 kites are having battle with each other, at the end usually one and at times both are cut and goes in air with some thread with them, then there are guys who fly usually a typically shaped kite with special thread Tandi or even having stainless steel wire at the start of the thread (near kite), some people attach half cut match sticks near steel wire or near the talaawan of the kite (what is talaawan – i’ll explain later). The kite usually used for this purpose is Lucknow Cut (Nakhlao Kaat) as it has more tendency to move around its centre of gravity 🙂 I am getting short of words in english that how to explain it – basically when the free thread of the kite is felt on thread of your kite, the Chamairu (person flying kite for the purpose of holding other free kites) make the kite to move in circular shape around the thread so that there are lots of knots, wrinkles of the both thread with each other – and when both gets entangled with each other, the guy starts to pull the thread carefully and gets both the kites – at times his own kite (the hunter) is at risk, if the thread is not properly entangled he might loose his own kite.
Talaawaa`n are very important in kite flying, you don’t tie the thread directly with the kite, rather you balance the kite with a thread by having a thread attached to the kite near top side and other end of the same thread is tied near lower side by make small/tiny holes, after tieing this thread, the kite is balance so that it doesn’t fall on one side, then where the balance is found, there we tie a knot and from that part we attach the actual thread..
Threads / Dorrs
There are different kinds of thread/dorrs available to fly kites, in my childhood, most famous brands were 12 number, 2 pandas, 5 pandas, 2 bears (do richh), 5 bears (5 richh).. later on as i kept on growing so did the brands of threads, now a days there are so many brands that one doesn’t know which one to buy – each one is meant for special purpose, depending on the size of kite, nature of flying, nature of the wind speed – you’ll find a variety of threads available.
Safety comes first – 1st Priority
Recently lots of killing happened due to weird use of heavy metalled threads – at the time of my childhood – people used to fly kites in great number – i personally think that the number of kites flown is now reduced but the killings have increased – the reasons which I understand for these incidents are
1. Too hard/thick threads
2. number of motorcycles & traffic has increased drastically – over last few years traffic growth in Lahore is in 3 digits.
So people have tried to find their own way of protecting themselves from the killer thread, here you figure it out.
Basant is not only confined to kite flying – there are lots of other activities which are attached and now part of basant.
Actually there is lot more which can be presented here so its taking quite a lots of time to present all about basant & kite flying – so making page available online now – will keep on adding as I get time & pictures
I just found an interesting blog regarding the same subject