Kite flying has it's origin in ancient China. It eventually spread by traders from China to Korea, and across Asia to India where it developed a distinctive style of kite and cultural purpose for flying them.
The earliest evidence of Indian kite flying can be found in miniature paintings from the Mogul Period around 1500. The tradition is still alive among the Muslim community in historic cities like Ahmedabad, Benares, Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad. But Kites certainly transcends all social and religious barriers and remain very popular among the masses in all over India. In the states of Gujarat, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, kite flying is an integral part of rituals and festivities. Flying kites is also popular on important national days like 15th August, the day of Indian independence, or 26th January, the Republic Day. According to the Hindu calendar, on the religiously auspicious day of Makar Sankranti in January, people fly kites all over northern India and also in the western state of Gujarat. Ahmedabad in Gujarat holds an International Kite Festival on Makar Sankranti every year called 'Uttarayan', the north-bound journey of the sun and advent of winter. The city of Jaipur also has its' own annual Kite Festival. Mumbai, the business capital of India flies kites on Ganesh Chaturthi, the day they worship Lord Ganesha, the deity of prosperity, wealth and of course business!
The eastern state of West Bengal offers a spectacle of kite flying competition on the holy day of Vishwakarma Puja in September. The term 'Vokatta' is in fact the battle cry of the victorious in a fight of two kites, which also signifies a social bonding. Hence the Kite Festival and competition in Bengal is aptly named 'Vokatta', which is going international in 2014.