FROM RAJASTHAN TO GOA. A KITE FLYING JOURNEY ACROSS INDIA.
In January 2015 we took the opportunity to link together two kite flying tours in India. Our first invitation took us to the city Jodhpur. En route we started in Delhi, arriving under a dense blanket of fog. Travelling through the streets of Delhi is an amazing experience, though not for the faint hearted. The word 'chaos' came to mind as we slowly made our way by cycle rickshaw, taxi and on foot to visit the Red Fort, Humayun's Tomb, and the Jantar Mantar.
From Delhi we flew to Jodhpur to join other kite fliers from the USA, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Netherlands. Our accommodation in Jodhpur was superb. The kite flying displays took place under an intense blue sky, in hot sun and very light winds, with the ever present Indian fighter kites around us, so typical of India.
From Jodhpur we travelled by bus to the amber city of Jaipur. The old city is a chaotic mix of people, cars, trucks, cows, elephants, camels, bicycle rickshaws and just about everything else. The kite flying events in Jaipur were very enjoyable, thanks to the remarkable efforts of our hosts and their sponsors. Most memorable was the rooftop kite flying of traditional Indian paper and bamboo kites, the patang. This takes place in January each year, during the Makar Sankranti festival and is celebrated by thousands of small kites flown from the city rooftops. Once experienced, never forgotten.
Our longest journey started with our departure from Jaipur and finished almost 24 hours later in Belgaum. Passing every concievable form of transport on an 'Indiana Jones' style road trip back to Delhi, then flying to Pune and finally a long bus ride to Belgaum.
In Belgaum we were joined by kite fliers from Russia, Argentina and Eastern Europe, with many more kite fliers from India. Light wind kites were the best choice for the conditions during the 2 day festival.
Our next journey was again by road to Panaji, also known as Panjim, in Goa. This state left us with such a memorable, colourful and thoroughly enjoyable experience of India. Lush green forests, long sunny beaches and very welcoming people.
The first International Goa kite festival took place, with much ceremony, on Miramar beach. It was wonderful to share the sky with so many Indian kite fliers. We stayed in Panaji after the kite festival to spend time exploring northern Goa, before flying back to the UK via Mumbai.