The Indian kites have come a long way, from the time they were introduced into this country. The shape of the Indian fighter kite has not changed since, shaped like a rhombus or the diamond shape. Only different types of materials, sizes and decorations on the kites had lead to different varieties in kites. But now apart from the kites made specifically for the purpose of flying, kites are also being used for many other promotional purposes. These new forms are special kites, which have a lesser following, but nonetheless their presence is becoming noticeable.
Tiny kites, small kites, like miniature versions of the regular sized kites are being sold just before the kite festival of Makara Sankranthi, along with the usual fighter kites in the shops. The images below show some of the varieties available. These cannot be flown; they are used like badges or pin ups, and adorn many a soft board, reminding one of the festival and the sport of kite flying long after it is over.
Apart from these small kites, decorative kites, the reigning movie celebrities have been inspiring kite makers to create uniquely shaped kites as dedications to them! The following images are such novel kite examples.
The traditional Indian kites are quite different from the kites that are flown in other countries. Compared to the standard Indian kite made of tissue paper and bamboo, these are extremely different. The international styles of kites are more stunt kites, with multiple flying lines, with unique constructions compared to the Indian kites. These modern kites are fabricated out of hi-tech materials like Dacron, ripstop nylon, carbon filament and fiberglass spars, and Kevlar flying lines. All these materials make the kites stronger, lighter, durable and more colourful.
With International kite festivals happening in many places in the country, the Indian kiting enthusiasts have been exposed to a whole new variety of kites; some are even attempting to fly such kites in India. There has been an international influence in the types and materials of the kites. Some of the local kite makers are also trying to create innovative forms based on the popular characters of the present day, using these modern materials. The following two images are examples of this culture.
Some differently shaped kite samples are as seen below; they are in the shape of a fish, a flying bat, an airplane, or with lot of graphic images. There is no limit to the imagination and exploration of forms and lightweight modern materials by kite makers! This unique innovativeness becomes very visible in the kites that are flown in the national and international kite festivals.
These kites are definitely more expensive than the traditional Indian fighter kites; they are also slowly becoming visible in the traditional kite shops as the kite makers are allowing such kites to share retail space as demand for such kites is also slowly increasing!
The following images are of a kite shop, which sells both the traditional Indian kites as well as the newly popular, colourful large sized kites of different shapes and materials.
The following images are of a few examples of such kites, which are in no way similar to the traditional kites but are still gaining popularity with the serious Indian kite flyers.
In the international arena, kite shapes are very different like the parafoil kite, tail-less diamond kite, tetrahedral kite, flexible kite, sled kite, to name a few. With many new patents, new kite designs and innovations continuing to develop, the kite industry has taken leaps and bounds with the creation of stunt and power kites designed to go faster and perform more intricate tricks than ever before.
Compared to these developments, majority of the Indian kites have remained largely unchanged. With the increasing exposure to a number of International kite festivals in different parts of India through out the year, and in other countries as well, one is slowly seeing an influence in the designs of Indian kites. New ways, new materials, and new designs, is the new promise on the horizon of innovation in kites; Whether the traditional kites will remain the same or will they get transformed with the new developments is something to wait and watch out for!