ancient art of kite flying has been very popular in Pakistan, especially
in the Punjab Province where the Kites are usually constructed from
Tissue Paper and spliced Bamboo sticks.
Kite flying is both an art and a highly competitive pass-time in Pakistan. In around mid-Feburary, there is a kite flying festival known as basant. People fly paper kites with a powdered glass coated cotten string (called Dore), the aim is to go into a "paitcha" (where two kites' strings cross) then using a special flying technique, cut the string of the other kite.
At basant the sky is full of kites, the festival starts at night (people fly the kites from their illumiated flat topped roofs), it carries on through-out the night and finishes at the end of the following day. Kite flying is most popular in Lahore (Punjab) is also popular througout Pakistan.
There is some controversy surrounding the celebration of basant. Some object to its celebration in a Muslim country because they believe it's roots are in hindu tradition. In Some cities these vocal groups have managed to get basant celebrations banned, but Lahorites will not give up their favorite spring festival for anyone. It is impossible to get a hotel room in Lahore during that time as people come from all around the country and even from other countries.
I was fortunate
to come upon professionals preparing the dore (powdered-glass covered
string). In my childhood I have made the door myself, but my process was
a lot simpler than what they do nowadays. The dore is so sharp that you
have to wear bandages or tape on your fingers when you fly the kites so
as not to cut yourself.
glass used in making the dore
ingredients include colors and glue
a paste is made that strengthens the string
almost looks like dough, which is then rubbed onto the string
the masala onto the string
up the prepared dore onto "charkhis"
night before basant people fly kites at night
guy holds the "charkhi" with the dore while another engages in
party on the flat rooftops while fireworks are sent off all around
Shahid on "old" food street at 2:30 AM!!
lining the Food Street
flying kites from rooftops along food street
|A closer look at festivities going on on rooftops at food street||Basant
Day is finally here. On my brother's rooftop
dressed in "basant yellow", the color of musturd flowers
Razia and Rafiq on Razia's brother's rooftop
at our disposal to fly
the "expert" will show them how it's done. :)