Though kite flying is an activity which is common to every nook and corner of the country, it is celebrated as a prominent festival for Rajasthan and the glory of it can be seen best in Jaipur which is the hub of all such celebrations. Soaked in the colours of varied fairs and festival the year round, Jaipur in the enchanting capital of Rajasthan that is a major crowd-puller especially on Makar Sankranti when people from across the country flock in to compete with one another and flaunt their kite flying skills on the terraces of their houses, in the vast fields or simply from the grounds. This is an international day which is celebrated with much zeal and gusto and if you are in Jaipur at the time of this festival, there is no way you can escape the sheer liveliness of people and the wide exposure of the culture of Rajasthan from washing over you.
The bright blue sky, on this day, looks like a patchwork of colours marked by several multi-coloured kites fluttering in it. Though this fancy festival is celebrated in Jodhpur and other parts of North India but the pop and show in Jaipur is unmatchable.
Marking the transition of the sun from Dhanu Rashi (Sagittarius) to Makara Rashi (Capricorn), the day of Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan is celebrated every year on January 14 and popularly called Kite Festival because of the dominant activity during the day. It is said that on this day the sun rays are gentle hence, beneficial for the body and so, flying the kite is a fruitful activity on this day of the year. This day marks the onset of longer days and shorter nights as the sun changes its course on this auspicious day. Kites are flown from morning to sunset as people get sufficient exposure to sun rays, deriving health benefits.
The day for Jaipur residents begins with taking a holy dip in Galtaji, a ritual sacred to the city. The sun is prayed to receive the said blessings of health, wealth and good yield of the crop that year. Since Makar Sankranti is a government holiday in Jaipur the markets are closed, shops remain shut and so do banks as everybody prepared for the kite flying ritual lying ahead.
Jaipur Polo Ground acts as the inaugural venue for the magnanimous festival which is divided into two sections – the Kite War and the Friendly Kite Flying Session. A prize distribution in the Umaid Bhawan Palace’s royal premises is held after three days of celebration which witness international participation. Among the various kite flying competitions organised by the Kite Clubs in Jaipur during these three days, the most distinctive one is the International Kite Festival organised by the State government. The sky is a mosaic of colours these three days thanks to the numerous bright kites dotting the sky.
Sweets made of sesame and jaggery, pakoras etc. are integral to this seasonal festival. Til Ke Laddu, Gajak (famous Jaipur’s Sesame Brittle) and Feeni (famous Jaipur sweet made of fibres) are the most relished sugary delights among others.
This year, the three-day long extravaganza will start from January 14, 2019 and last till January 16, 2019. Jaipur can be reached by air, rail or road and upon arrival, the tourists are spoiled for choice with regards to accommodation since the city promises comfort and pleasure through its range of budget hotels, homestays, heritage hotels and resorts.