The Elusive Tukkal Fighter

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The tukkal is common to Pakistan and northwestern India and is considered an expert's fighter. Since it is burdened by three bows and is less aerodynamic, the single bowed kites are more popular for competitive fliers in the U.S. As a non-competitive flier, I enjoy the birdlike outline and unique design.

The name Tukkal means  "lantern" because this kite's shape originated from hard-pulling kites used to lift lanterns. As a consequence, these big, flat fighters pull very strongly which gives them an advantage for line-cutting in a pench, or tangle, with other kites, since a heavier and more taut manjha, or cutting line, is flown. Although less nimble than smaller single-bowed kites, in an expert's hands this is a formidable opponent. Some fliers attach rupee notes to kite as a way of advertising their prowess and confidence.

Pakistanis with a batch of kites

Kitemaster Babu Khan

Traditional Manjha or Door is made of cotton thread coated with a mixture of materials including ground glass and a glue made from boiled rice, egg whites, colored dye and other secret ingredients. This mixture is spread by hand onto the cotton line stretch between posts. The finished line has the feel of very fine emery or sandpaper, and is easily broken by hand.

Since the kites are considered expendable, the finish and durability are less that what would be expected for a fancy display kite. The cutting line is much more time consuming to make and thus more expensive.

Here are some attempts at making my own Tukkal with little or no real knowledge ( I had both) the kites were time consuming but educational. Now that I have a real kite to study, I'm cautiously optimistic about  future attempts. 
Mark 1

The bows were bent on assembly without heating. This arcs the wing into an almond shape. The tissue was glued on and sprayed with water to shrink it. The kite is too heavy and stiff to steer well but is very fast. Three-point bridle.

Frame Jig 

For shaping bows. Scrap particle board with headless nails. A heat gun or propane torch was lightly played over the spars to set them in place after steaming  proved ineffective. Dry heat seems best.

Mark 2

Much thinner heat-formed frame parts and an Orcon sail. Attempt to fly in 8mph wind broke the lower wing bow. Very fast, but unable to adjust bridle before damage from high wind. I suspect the kite needs to be larger for frame to flex properly.

Detail photos of Tukkals