Rander town in Surat is famous for its exquisite traditional kites, thanks to Hyderabad

Rander town in the diamond city of Surat has kept its kite-making art alive for the last 130 years


Surat (Gujarat): Thanks to Hyderabad, Rander town in the diamond city of Surat has kept its kite-making art alive for the last 130 years. Haji Kamal, a well-known classical singer and tabla player of yesteryears, taught the art of making kites to the young people in Rander town. Haji died at the age of 110 years.

Haji Kamal, who lived in Rander town’s Nana Bazaar, was invited to Hyderabad for a classical singing event. Haji Kamal met his fan, a kite maker, at the event. Haji paid a visit to his home and was impressed by the art of making kites. Haji learned the intricacies of making kites in Hyderabad and brought the art with him to Surat.

Haji Kamal taught kite-making to many children in Rander at the time. Rander, along with the well-known Khambhat district, has since gained prominence as the traditional kite-making centre in Gujarat.

“Rander is indebted to Haji Kamal and the kite artisan of Hyderabad for giving us the reputation of being the traditional hub of kite making in the world,” said Iqbal Malik alias Wasim, a renowned Urdu poet in Rander. “A few years ago, there were more than 40 families involved in the kite making business in Rander; now, there are only seven families left in the business.”

Rander was first  in the country to create kites out of four-color paper. According to Wasim, the introduction of Chinese machinery and equipment in Ahmedabad has cast a dark shadow on the traditional kite making business in Rander.

Rander’s kite artisans do not use any machinery to make their kites. Instead, they use their own hands to create kites of various sizes, shapes, and qualities to suit kite enthusiasts.

“Rander has a coveted place in the history of kite making in India and the world,” said Riyaz Patangwala, a traditional kite maker in Rander. Randeri kites include Cheel, Adadiya, Dabbo, Mazoon, Aankhdar, Laddu, Gotela, Chhatopatto, and many others. We make the designer kites with three to four different coloured kite papers. These varieties are on the verge of extinction because the younger generation is uninterested in preserving traditional art.”

Surat residents used to celebrate the kite festival (Uttrayan) on the banks of the Tapi River during the British regime. During the Uttrayan festival, tens of thousands of people from Surat and Rander town would congregate on the banks of the rivers to fly kites.