Aerial Delights: Mumbai Celebrating the Joy of Kites Festival

“In 2024 as well, the Mumbai kites festival (also known as ‘Uttarayan’ or ‘Makar Sankranti’) will witness a vibrant sky adorned with kites of various sizes and shapes, along with stunning artwork across the city and its suburbs. As citizens, let’s embrace the joy of this festival while also showing compassion towards the magnificent birds soaring above us by firmly saying “NO TO KILLER CHINESE MANJA

Kites Shops Mumbai
Kites Shops Mumbai

Please take note: The stunning pictures and visuals of the Kites festival are courtesy of the ‘Dhiraj Bhatia’ Channel, showcasing the vibrant celebrations in Gujarat. It’s undeniable that the Kites festival in Mumbai may not be as grand as it is in Gujarat. Let’s give a shoutout to Gujarat and say Jai Shri Krishna!

Kites Festival Pictures

If you’re in Mumbai and have ever tried flying kites or simply enjoy watching the thrilling kites fighting festivals in the sky, you’ll definitely want to take a day off from work or make some time in your busy schedule to be at home. The excitement is contagious! However, there’s one festival in Mumbai called ‘Makar Sankranti’ that is celebrated on a grand scale in Gujarat. It’s filled with even more fun, music, and delicious food, and it’s an experience you wouldn’t want to miss if you happen to be in the area.

Aside from the enjoyment, it’s important to understand the cultural significance of this festival and how it’s celebrated in Mumbai. From the joy of flying various types of kites to the unfortunate impact on birds, there’s a lot to learn and explore. You can even find helplines for injured birds and discover captivating pictures and videos of Mumbai during this festive time.

Cultural Significance of Makar Sankranti Festival

The festival of kites, known as Uttarayan, has a unique significance in the ancient mythology stories of India. It is not just about flying kites, but rather about the powerful solar body, the ‘SUN’. According to these stories, the SUN visits his son, ‘Shani Dev’, who is considered to be the Guru of Astrology (‘Makar’ in Hindu calendar and ‘Capricorn’ in English calendar).

On this day, there is a sense of responsibility and promise between the father, Surya (The SUN), and his son, Shani Dev. Shani Dev pledges to uphold and fulfill all the dreams of his father. In essence, ‘Makar Sankranti’ is a festival that celebrates the bond between fathers and sons, not just in Mumbai city, but all across India.

Have you ever wondered about the origin of kites and how they became associated with Makar Sankranti? It’s fascinating how different the mythology story is from the way people celebrate this festival today. In India, with its diverse castes, communities, and sub-communities, each festival has its own unique stories and traditions.

Different people have different perspectives on how the Sankranti festival is connected to kites. Let’s explore one of the reasons why kites are associated with the Sankranti festival and how it is celebrated in Mumbai city.

To put it simply, if you’re familiar with the Navratri festival (renowned for its Dandiya and Garba Dance), then you’ll find ‘Vasant Navratri’ equally fascinating. This special festive period, celebrated by Hindus, begins in January each year.

Goddess Saraswati, the deity associated with wealth, is closely connected to the power of the sun. As a way of paying homage to the sun god, people perform rituals by offering vibrant flowers in various colors. Additionally, people have created and associated flying kites of diverse shapes, sizes, and colors with this celebration, making it a joyful and symbolic offering to the sun god.

In essence, these colorful kites have become the embodiment of these offerings, and in our modern world, we refer to this celebration as the ‘Kites Festival’.

The Fun Of Kite Festival in Mumbai

Kites, known as “Patang” in Hindi, are accompanied by a spinning wheel called “Firki or Phirki” and adorned with vibrant and razor-sharp threads known as “Manja.” Before the kite takes flight, it requires a special knot called “Kunni” to be tied, securing the main thread “MANJA” in place.

The skilled pro kite flyers possess the ability to sever other threads, and this fascinating technique is referred to as ‘Khechi’ or ‘Ghasit’ in the local slang of Mumbai. More of this festival slangs at the end of this article.

The Kite Compitition Begins Early Morning in Mumbai

The Indian festivals in Mumbai are not just about mythology, they also bring out the excitement in kids and youth. One of the most thrilling aspects is the kite-flying competition, where participants aim to cut off each other’s kites using their colorful and sharp threads.

It’s not just about strength, but also about the skill required to pull the threads swiftly and make an impact on others’ threads, known as ‘Manja’. Trust me, this competitive kites festival in Mumbai is an exhilarating experience.

Get ready to soar high in the sky with the most exquisite collection of fancy kites! These vibrant kites come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, catering to every kite enthusiast’s taste. From as low as Rs.10 to Rs.100 and beyond, the price varies depending on the intricate artwork, unique shapes, and larger sizes.

Imagine the sheer pride of flying a magnificent, eye-catching kite from the rooftop or terrace of your residential building. It’s a sight to behold! The excitement begins early in the morning, around 7 am, and lasts until late at night. As the sun sets, the sky becomes adorned with mesmerizing “Fire Kites,” illuminating the dark evening with their fiery glow. It’s a spectacle that fills the air with a sense of competition and pure joy.

In the bustling city of Mumbai, where time never seems to slow down, everyone knows that the kite festival is a fleeting affair, lasting only a day. Those who have taken time off from their jobs wouldn’t dare to miss it. Unfortunately, “Uttarayan” is not officially declared as a public holiday. However, that doesn’t dampen the spirits of the kite enthusiasts. The preparations kick off with the creation of the special “Kunni,” a meticulously crafted thread that ensures the kite stays steady in the sky.

So, gear up for an unforgettable experience as you join the exhilarating kite festival in Mumbai. Let your kite soar high, dance with the wind, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

In the vibrant city of Mumbai, the spirit of Makar Sankranti is infectious and spreads to every nook and cranny. From the bustling streets of the city to the serene suburbs and interior districts, the enthusiasm for this festival is palpable. Even places like Thane and Vasai Virar join in the madness.

Families and friends form multiple groups, eagerly awaiting the moment they can gather on building terraces. They come prepared with an abundance of food, water, and music, ready to have a blast. The balconies of homes are filled with excitement as kite flyers take to the skies.

In the suburbs of Mumbai, such as Borivali, Kandivali, Malad, Jogeshwari, and Bhayander, the sky becomes a canvas for countless kites. The thrill of flying kites begins early in January, and on Makar Sankranti, it reaches its peak. On this day, there are no divisions of caste, community, or religion. It’s all about the exhilarating competition and the sheer joy of flying kites.

Muslims, Gujaratis, Marathis, and people from all walks of life come together to revel in the festivities. The excitement is so contagious that people don’t even want to come down for lunch. Instead, special arrangements are made on terraces, where society or individual groups of families gather. The air is filled with the sound of loud speakers playing rocking music, creating an electrifying atmosphere that lasts well into the evening.

The Uttarayan festival is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate. They gather at various locations like Building Terraces, Open Play Grounds, and other spots with a good amount of wind flow to fly kites. It’s a great opportunity for newcomers to learn how to fly kites and make the basic threading, known as ‘Kunni’, under the watchful eye of experienced seniors.

Mastering the art of creating a perfect ‘Kunni’ is crucial to ensure the kites fly smoothly and perform impressive twists and turns during competitions.

Both the middle class and the wealthy in Mumbai embrace this festival with open arms, splurging on kites and threads to make the most of the occasion. The children, in particular, have a blast chasing after the kites that have lost their battle and gracefully descend from the sky.

However, amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, there are underprivileged kids living in shanties who cannot afford these expensive kites and firkis. Instead, they find joy in the thrill of jumping and maneuvering to catch hold of the kites whenever they get the opportunity. You can often spot them leaping into the open with long sticks, eagerly reaching for the kites that have been cut loose and fallen to the ground.

As the day progresses and the sun begins to set, the atmosphere in Mumbai undergoes a magical transformation. The sky is adorned with the enchanting sight of fire balloons, a smaller version of the popular “Hot Balloon” sport. The gentle evening breeze aids in the flight of these night kites, creating a mesmerizing spectacle against the dark backdrop.

Interestingly, these fire balloons, also known as “Fire Kites” by some, can be attached to a stable kite that has been soaring in the dark since evening. The real excitement lies in the hands of the expert flyers who skillfully attach a series of 10 to 15 such balloons, painting a breathtaking picture in the night sky. This captivating display continues well into the late hours of the night, adding an extra touch of magic to the festival.

The Kites Shops Of Mumbai

In the bustling streets of Mumbai, kites flutter in the sky, captivating the hearts of both young and old. Every other lane is adorned with shops that proudly display these colorful wonders. Some sellers even set up special stalls, creating a vibrant spectacle for all to see (Check out the picture inside this article!). These kites come accompanied by the essential accessory – the MANJA. Among the assortment of MANJAs available, the powerful and effective colored ones steal the show. Picture delicate Pink, delectable Chocolate, and sleek Grey threads, thin and sharp, ready to take flight.

However, in the past two decades, a new player has entered the scene – the imported ‘CHINESE MANJA’. These threads, crafted with precision, possess an unrivaled sharpness that can effortlessly slice through the locally made counterparts. But, there’s a dark side to these Chinese Manjas – they pose a grave danger to our feathered friends. These threads are like silent assassins, capable of inflicting harm on unsuspecting birds. Their strength is such that they cannot be easily severed by bare hands alone.

Patang Galli (Special Kite Street Shopping) of Mumbai

Looking for the best spots to get affordable kites and Manja in Mumbai? Look no further! Masjid Bunder, Mohd Ali Road, and Dongri, situated in the southern part of the city, are renowned for their fantastic deals. These areas are bustling with specialty kite shops and vibrant street side stalls, especially during the 10 to 15 days leading up to Makar Sankranti, the grand kite festival in Mumbai. To get a glimpse of the vibrant atmosphere, take a look at these captivating pictures captured in the suburbs of Mumbai.

Kites Thread Making
Kites Thread Making
Kites Varieties
Kites Varieties

The Cons of This Festival in Mumbai

Sometimes, our selfishness as humans becomes evident. We become so engrossed in the joy of flying kites during the ‘Makar Sankranti Festival’ that we overlook the grave consequences of our actions – the harm we cause to innocent birds. It’s heartbreaking to think that not only do these birds suffer severe injuries, but many of them lose their lives due to the sharp threads that mercilessly strangle them, particularly around their delicate necks.

The Sparrows and Pigeons, who are usually wary of these temporary intruders called ‘Kites’, find themselves in a state of fear and panic. They desperately try to escape, only to become entangled in the deadly Manjas and suffer injuries. These birds are unfortunate victims of a festival that humans have created, and it is especially disheartening that these injuries are often caused by the use of ‘CHINESE THREADS’.

Chinese threads, also known as Manja, have gained a reputation for their sharpness and power in the sky. They are used by a select few to outshine and outmaneuver their competitors. However, these threads pose a serious threat not only to other kite flyers but also to unsuspecting humans. Many unfortunate individuals have fallen victim to the deadly Chinese Manja, with numerous throats already being cut.

On the day of the kite festival, it is strongly advised not to ride bikes, especially in areas where kites are flying high. Gujarat, in particular, has witnessed a significant number of bike riders becoming victims of this dangerous thread. Wearing helmets offers no protection against its cutting capabilities. The threads are so potent that they can sever a human neck, leading to severe injuries and emergency situations.

Year after year, NGOs and bird enthusiasts make efforts to raise awareness about the dangers posed by these threads. Their aim is to protect both birds and humans and educate people about the risks involved. Choosing between life and fun is a crucial decision, not just in Mumbai but throughout India.

Please refrain from using ‘Chinese threads’ for your request. While local manjas are decent, experienced flyers favor Firkis and Manjas from Gujarat, particularly those crafted in Surat city.

Moreover, there are ‘GLASS DUST COATED Manja’ threads, which were popular for many years but were recently discontinued due to their tendency to injure the fingers of flyers and harm birds.

Kite Injured Birds Helplines Mumbai

If you come across any injured birds or animals, reach out to the NGOs dedicated to their welfare using the contact numbers provided below. These helplines are specifically for Mumbai locations. Please be aware that not all numbers may be currently active or in working condition, as we have not received any recent updates.

  • Bandra to Andheri : 022-65141313 / 022-65151313
  • Mulund to Kanjurmarg : 022-32522588
  • Thane District : 022-25608383

Other Animal and Birds Helplines for Kites Festival

  • PETA : +919820122602
  • Ahinsa Group : +919920510888 / +919920510088
  • PAWS (Thane to Kalyan) : +919820161114
  • PAWS (Mulund to Bhandup) : +919892179542
  • Sri Ramanagarh Trust : +919619933223
  • SPCA Hospital : 022-24137518
  • People for Animals : +9198289060727
  • Raksha : +919828500065
  • Help and Suffering : 022-3245673

YUVA Mandal (Station Wise Helplines)

  • Chira Bazar : +919869138768
  • Opera House : +919323245688
  • Kandivali : +918451899899
  • Borivali and Dahisar : +919324747555 / +912232522509

In case you come across an injured bird, there’s another option available to you. You can reach out to the Sanganer Bird Hospital at 022-2575801. If anyone happens to know whether the STD code is correct, your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Hindi Slang’s Used For Kite Flying

Kai Po Che” is a popular phrase among the Gujarati community, symbolizing victory by proudly declaring, “Yeah, I have Cut Your Kite.” It holds a special significance and is often used to celebrate triumph.

The “Kanni / Kunni” refers to a knot with four holes, tied using the same or different thread or manja. This knot is crucial for ensuring a stable and steady flight of the kite. It is connected to the main string, providing support and control.

Manja” is a Hindi word that translates to string or thread used for flying kites. It plays a vital role in keeping the kite airborne and maneuverable.

The “Firki” is a rounded reel made of wood or plastic, equipped with extra sticks to hold the thread or manja. It is held between two hands and aids in controlling the kite’s movements.

Dheel De” is a directive given to the holder of the firki, instructing them to release the strings for ease and flexibility.

Ghasit” means pulling the thread as quickly as possible while both kites are connected and one of them is ready to be cut is the essence of the game. ‘Dheel De’ signifies loosening and releasing the thread to reduce pressure and determine who is out of the game. On the other hand, ‘Ghasit’ refers to pulling the thread forcefully. The Ghasit technique is often successful as the majority of the thread exerts pressure and enables a sharp cut against the competitor. However, mastering this technique requires years of experience and is considered a professional skill.

During kite-flying competitions, “Ghasit” refers to the act of pulling the threads faster to gain an advantage over other competitive kites. The one who pulls the thread with greater speed and force will successfully cut the thread of slower-flying kites.

The word “LAPET” has two different meanings. In the context of kite flying, it signifies rolling up the strings back into the firki. However, in Mumbai slang, it is used to mean “LIER,” implying that someone is not telling the truth.

Read Mumbai slangs to know more about Mumbai and local language.

Note: Priyadarshini Park is another place to keep watch of special kites competition held yearly.

In India, Gujarat is the best state to enjoy this festival.

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Greetings, I am Deven, the founder of Mumbai77. With immense passion, I have dedicated my full-time efforts to continuously learn and update important information about Mumbai city. Currently, I am a full-time blogger residing in Mumbai. Since its establishment on July 7, 2007, Mumbai77 has attracted millions of pageviews. Our website aims to provide valuable information, including my personal reviews and experiences, to assist individuals worldwide in their search for updated information about Mumbai city.
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