Balloon festival Mahabalipuram 2022

A horse gallops across the sky. A chubby octopus follows suit. The elephant, who was waiting patiently on the ground, does not want to miss out on the fun and joins his friends. Merrily, they float over the Bay of Bengal.

Scenes like this, which may seem fictional, will come alive at the first edition of the Tamil Nadu International Kite Festival, where hundreds of vibrant kites in myriad shapes and sizes will dot the sky. The event will take place at the sun-drenched, sea-kissed TTDC Ocean View, spread across 14 acres. This gives the organisers enough space to mark out dedicated zones for the different segments of the event.

Benedict Savio, founder of Global Media Box, who is organising this event in association with Tamil Nadu Tourism, says he wants it to be a day of family bonding. “I have attended a number of kite festivals in France, China, Taiwan, Thailand… and I like how it brings the entire family together,” he adds.
This year being the inaugural edition of the event, Benedict wanted to keep things small. Kite enthusiasts from the US, Thailand, Malaysia and India are set to participate. “It is a professional event. So far there are 10 teams with 100-plus kites. These are all designer kites made using ripstop nylon,” says Benedict.

A kite shaped like Thiruvalluvar
It can take anywhere between two weeks to a month to make a kite. The biggest one at the festival measures 20 feet and the smallest is around three feet. It is interesting to note that every country has their own technique of making kites, says Benedict. His team is in the midst of finishing a kite shaped like Thiruvalluvar. A Malaysian designer is helping us with it and therefore the kite has their iconic Batik prints, he adds. They also have one shaped like the Mamallapuram Temple.
Spread over three days, the event will also have food stalls, games, kite making workshops, contests for kids, and music performances in the evenings featuring well-known names like Thaikkudam Bridge, Rajesh Vaidya, Nithyashree, Diwakar, Karthick Devaraj and Kumaran Drums. 

Kites from across countries will arrive for the festival.
Benedict also organises the annual hot air balloon festival every year in Chennai and Pollachi. “I have always been interested in aviation-related events,” he adds. He says that while hot air balloons require less wind, kites need a lot of it. This is why he organises the balloon festival in December/January, when wind conditions are ideal. Plans are afoot to host the next kite festival in the month of May, he reveals.
Tamil Nadu International Kite Festival took place on August 13, 14 and 15 2022

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