The making and flying of kites is an ancient tradition followed in Nepal. Though kite flying - like elsewhere in the East - is a popular pastime in Nepal, the locally crafted kites made of Daphne bark (lokta) paper are facing stiff competition from the imported variety.
Though kites are flown throughout the year, they are linked with some ritual and auspicious occasions during the festival of Indra Jatra. This festival is structured around agricultural cycles, with God Indra being venerated as the harbinger of the rains. The kites act as the farmer's emissaries and are flown during the jatra as an for of appeal to Lord Indra to bring forth the rains for a bountiful harvest. The kites, it is believed, reach Lord Indra, who then heeds the message(s).
Kite-flying competitions start in the autumn in Nepal - the gentle breeze of this season is perfect for kite-flying. Many participate in this sport and there is a brisk sale of kites at this time.
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