Kite flying can be a pastime, a thrilling festive sport or a passion for many. However, the fast paced urban life in the cities in Kerala has robbed off the fun of many native leisure activities like kite flying, which are being replaced by the new gen sporting activities like cricket. However, all is not lost for the kites made in Kerala. Kite Life Foundation has set up a club of kite flying enthusiasts, Team Kerala- GOC, which ironically will be flying the Kerala kites in the international skies this time.
Officially invited by Bintulu Development Authority, Sarawak, Malaysia ‘Team Kerala-GOC’ will represent India at the eighth Borneo International Kite Festival. The festival will be held from September 26-30 in Bintulu, Sarawak, Malasyia and is expected to bring in a lot of kite fliers from around the world.
The team Kerala will be competing with teams from over 30 countries. The main attraction of the Kerala team would be the ‘Theyyam’ themed kite which is more than 20 ft in size, with intricate applique work on it. The kite when soared high will not only make us proud of our kite flying expertise but also in highlighting the traditional temple and folk arts in foreign shores, which could lure more tourists to Kerala. In addition there are kites that are designed in the form of the gold plated caparisons of elephants that are paraded during temple festivals, which will take the cultural diversity and richness of Kerala into the skies literally.
Many traditional sporting activities of Kerala like kite flying are facing a risk of extinction mostly due to want of patrons to popularize these leisure activities. It is paradoxical that the younger generation of Kerala spends more time playing sports like cricket than the traditional leisure activities. The vanishing open spaces and hillocks and the surging popularity of gated community living have all been responsible in sounding the death knell of some of these leisure activities of Kerala. It is high time that the government and the public take an active role in preserving these interesting activities for posterity so that the Kerala kites soar high in our skies too!