Vishwakarma Puja is also associated with flying kites in West Bengal. Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated as Vishwakarma Jayanti, which falls under Kanya Sankranti of the Hindu Calendar. It generally falls under 16th – 18th September of every year.
Vishwakarma – is a Hindu God, and is believed to be the creator of Earth. He is specified as an Engineer himself, who created and designed many things of the universe. It is known that he was the builder of weapons that were used by the Gods. He also designed and made the Rath(Chariot), by which the Gods used to travel from one place to another.
To celebrate the birthday of the creator of the World, Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated each and every year in the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, Assam, and Tripura. Especially the Industries, workshops, engineering firms, and shops, those all deal with equipment do Vishwakarma Puja. Even the persons having a cycle, rikshaw, moto cycle, car, bus, or any vehicle is seen to clean his/her vehicle and make a puja for it.
Not only to celebrate the day but the craftsmen or workmen associated with machines & equipment also pray to God Vishwakarma, so that their business proper, the machines run properly, and for its longevity.
Kite or Patang is made of paper and crafted with a back-stick derived from bamboo. It is flown in the sky with the help of a thread. There are many types of kites, available in various sizes and designs. In Kolkata, popular size kites are known as aktel, sare satash, adda, etc. Among the popular designs – pet-katti, mom-batti, begga, mokh-pora, moyur-ponkhi, etc. Even nowadays kites are made of plastics also.
This kite flying was introduced by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in West Bengal in the 19th Century around 1850. It was recreation for the Nawabs, which actually increased the interest of the common man, and the activity grew up in Kolkata and nearby places. Kites are flown across India all around the year, but specifically during Makar Sankranti and Kanya Sankranti( Vishwakarma Puja), it is noticeable among most. Kite flying is a sport that entertains many such people – including men, women & children.
The competition goes on between parties for kite flying. Manza – specially curated thread for kite flying is available in the market in various ranges. The more the sharpness of the thread (manza), the more costly it is. Manza is specially used for competitions.
Metiaburz in Kolkata is famous for Kites and accessories. Kite making and the accessories like manza, latai, and others have created a small-scale industry in West Bengal.
Why are Kites Flown In Vishwakarma Puja?
It’s been a ritual to fly kites on the day of Vishwakarma Puja in West Bengal and nearby places for ages. As Vishwakarma – the Hindu God is a creator, it is also related to kite, as Kite making is a form of art or creation.
Another reason can be found – it is believed that Gods used to roam through the skies on Rath(chariots), which were designed and crafted by Vishwakarma. So, to pay the tribute, kites are flown on the day of Vishwakarma Puja.
The Day of Vishwakarma Puja – Before and Now, Trends Changed.
Every year on the day of Kanya Sankranti, Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated. Every factory & industry, workshop, small shop, and everyone associated with machines and equipment, celebrates this day to pray to God Vishwakarma – the creator, the engineer, the designer of all things.
It was a day when the loud shouts of “bhonkanta” were actually a morning call in the neighborhood early in the morning. When I was in school, I used to count the days for this day. It was not for the celebration of Vishwakarma Puja, but for the entertainment of flying kites, and taking part in the competition.
It was actually beautiful to see the sky full of multi-colored kites flying. All the day under the scorching sun, always moving hand, whether handling the latai or the thread to control the kite in the sky. The whole family participated on the roof-tops, cheering to win the competition. Sitting like a dumb, and praying for the rain to stop – if it started raining. It was a thrill!
But, nowadays that thrill is not been seen. Everyone is busy in the competition of gaining success in his/her career. Flying kites are not entertainment now. It’s only a competition with financial terms. Many utilize the day-off as a shopping day as Durga Puja is arriving. Things have changed with time. People are more associated with gadgets like mobiles, computers, and laptops than spending some quality time- having fun with such thrilling experiences. Now, you have to look into the sky on the Vishwakarma Puja day to find out whether you have noticed a kite flying or not.
I am still enthusiastic about flying kites. It is not a competition for me, but entertainment that will remain ever long with me.
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Though Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated through ages, and it will also be celebrated in the same way in future years also, we should not forget the enjoyment, the thrill when shouting “bhonkanta” after winning, the entertainment of the whole day – as it is also associated with the cottage industry those are based on manufacturing and selling kites and it’s accessories. If we stop this entertainment, then the families associated with the trading will face a commercial loss.
So, it’s up to you – what do you decide? A whole day of entertainment for you which will provide a meal for a family for a day, or entertaining yourself as an off-day, spending time white family, shopping and watching movies – which will affect the commercial side of the kite-making industry.
This year Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated on 17th September 2021, Friday.
Dates of upcoming five years Vishwakarma Puja (Date may vary due to tithi)
- 2022 – 17th September, Saturday
- 2023 – 17th September, Sunday
- 2024 – 16th September, Monday
- 2025 – 17th September, Wednesday
- 2026 – 17th September, Thursday
Some Famous Kites Shops In Kolkata:
- Santu Kite Shop – Hatibagan, 28 Ganendro Mitro Lane, Shyambazar, Kolkata – 700004, Near Town Schoo, +919830454879
- Bengal Kite – 2/B, St James Square, Bowbazar, Kolkata – 700012, Santosh Mitra Square. +91 9231695496
- Doma Kite – 9/1B, Dr. Suresh Sarker Road, Entally, Kolkata – 700014, Near Entally Post Office, +918582929583
- Shaheen Khan Kite Shop – M 401, Paharpur Road, Garden Reach, Kolkata – 700024, +919339860426
- Prime Kite – I 202, Paharpur Road, Garden Reach, Kolkata – 700024, Opposite Airtel Point, +919331603700
- Anwar Kite Shop – Garden Reach, Kolkata, Pahar Pur Road, Garden Reach, Kolkata – 700024, +917595821344