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The Globe and Mail

High society: India's kite-flying culture

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Men prepare reels of line in a kite flying shop in Old Delhi.

Simon de Trey-White/The Globe and Mail

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In early August, Lal Kuan, the central market inside Old Delhi, undergoes an annual transformation into kite mecca – every shop has thousands of them.

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Reels of kite flying line lie stacked on shelves in a shop in Old Delhi.

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An Indian scans the labels of kites. The best kites come from the town of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.

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A kite is tied to the line. Depending on how kite flyers want the kite to perform, the holes are made different distances apart.

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Gourav Sharma, middle, flies a kite from a rooftop in Delhi with his friends Arun John, left, and Andriyas John, middle right.

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Mr. Sharma flexes a kite to test its strength and to give it the right flying profile.

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Mr. Sharma has flown a kite every Independence Day for 20 years.

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Andriyas John, 23, flies a kite from a rooftop in Delhi.

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Two kites battle to cut each other’s lines in the sky over Delhi. Kite flying is believed to have come to South Asia from China thousands of years ago, and became a popular competitive sport in the Mughal empire; there are epic poems from the 1400s that recount battles.

Simon de Trey-White/The Globe and Mail

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