When they ask you to fly a kite in Jaipur in January, they do mean it! You can share a colorful Jaipur sky with thousands of other young and old locals and visitors in the month of January every year while you participate in the International Kite Festival. Kites of various sizes and shapes flutter high above the Rajasthan capital’s rooftops. The festival is organized by the Jaipur Tourism Development Corporation in one of the local stadiums of the city. Besides kite art, the festival promotes the culture and food of Rajasthan.
Legend behind the Jaipur Kite Festival
The Jaipur Kite Festival is always held in the second week of January so that it may coincide with the celebrations of Makar Sankranti, another eminent Indian festival. The kites flown at the festival are traditionally known as Tukals. They are made with such precision so as to ensure lots of color and illumination in the Jaipur sky.
Since the entire city gets together in groups to fly their kites, the Jaipur sky remains totally invisible throughout the day. Shouts of ‘woh kata’, a local Rajasthani term, fill the Jaipur environment. It is also a custom with the locals to fly their kites on this day from their terraces.
Customs and Traditions of Jaipur Kite Festival
The day begins early for the locals taking a holy dip in the Jaipur pilgrimage site Galta. People flock to this site to seek the blessings of the Sun God for wealth, good crop yield and good health. Devotees are also seen offering ablutions to the Sun God followed by donation of cash or kind to the temples at the site. Generally sweets made from sesame seeds and clothes are offered as gifts to Sun God.
This day is declared a holiday by the local government authorities of Rajasthan, so all banks and locality shops remain closed too for people to participate actively in flying their kites. The festival is inaugurated every year at the famous Polo Ground of Jaipur.
Cultural Importance of Jaipur Kite Festival
People fly kites to the accompaniment of loud local music. This in a way is a promotion of modern Rajasthani music in front of the thousands of tourists from all parts of the world who meet in Jaipur in January to take a look at and participate in kite flying events like Display Kites and Fighter Kite Competition.
Don’t forget to bite into the local delicacies of til ke laddu, feeni and gajak being sold in the side stalls of the stadium. Sweet dishes made from sesame seeds are a specialty of Rajasthan and they are also the perfect gifts for friends and relatives waiting at home.