The Kite Craze of Jaipur
The Pink City takes a break on the 14th of January to celebrate Makar Sankranti (Kite Festival). If you’re visiting Jaipur around the time, all you need to do is look up and spot thousands of diamond-shaped kites whizzing about the clear January sky. The day is all about Rajasthani culture and tradition that fills the Jaipur air with colourful joy.
Traditional Significance of the Kite Festival
Makar Sankranti celebrates the movement of the sun into the northern hemisphere. This particular change in the solar cycle is an auspicious occasion, and has ancient roots when inhabitants considered spending a day in the sunshine good for the body and mind.
While the kite festival is celebrated throughout the country, Jaipur is where it really comes alive. The merriment reaches a crescendo as it is a government holiday in Jaipur. With the Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal forming a historical backdrop, the day transforms into a skyscape of moving colours.
Prepare to be immersed in the local culture of Kite War and soaring ‘manjha’ (thread coated in crushed glass for better kite-cutting). For those who simply want to fly a kite for the fun of it, the Friendly Kite Flying event is for you.
One way to enjoy this festival is to celebrate it like a local. The day begins with a dip in one of the natural water springs inside the Galtaji Temple complex. From then onwards, it’s all fun and frolic.
Jal Mahal (Water Palace) is one of the most picturesque of Jaipur attractions situated on the Man Sagar Lake. This is where the kite festival is best experienced. Simply stroll around and witness aerial kite duels, traditional music and people decked out for a day in the sun.
If you’re an uber-curious traveller and want to be in the thick of things, head to Haldion ka Rasta (within Johri Bazaar) and Handipura. These two markets are chock-a-block with kite makers and you can even witness kites being prepared on the spot.
Besides the soaring kites, there are a number of cultural performances that give you a taste of Rajasthani folk music and dance.
The Kite Festival is the perfect occasion to treat your taste buds to pheeni (a north Indian milk-based dessert), pakodas (fried dumplings stuffed with onions or lentils), and til ka ladoo (spherical sweetmeats made of flour, sugar, ghee/butter and coated with sesame seeds).
Makar Sankranti doesn’t end even when the sun has left the sky. In the evening, kites are replaced by glittering lanterns that make Jaipur look as pretty as a picture. The Kite Festival is one of the first festivals of the calendar year and travellers have a once in a lifetime experience in Jaipur. Wouldn’t it be a perfect holiday if you learnt to fly a kite in Rajasthan?!