International Kite Festival, Jaipur

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Kite Festival, Jaipur Overview

The International Kite Festival is an annual event that takes place on Makar Sankranti in the city of Jaipur. The colours of the pink city shine brighter as a slew of vivid, colourful kites adorn the placid sky of Jaipur and present an enthralling spectacle. The rock music and meticulous dancers add to the vibrancy of the ambience. The festival attracts enthusiastic kite fliers from different parts of India to enjoy the delight of kite flying. It is one of the most colourful festivals and is marked by much amusement and excitement.

Held on the occasion of Makar Sankranthi, the Kite Festival of Jaipur takes place in January every year. Various kite flying competitions are organised at the Polo ground of Jaipur where the festival is hosted. If you want to experience a glorious sight of thousand kites, make sure to catch a glimpse of the lanterns at night.

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International Kite Festival in Jaipur - 2020 Dates

14th January to 16th January 2020

Kite Festival in Jaipur

Kite Festival, Jaipur
Kite Festival, Jaipur
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Rajasthan is one of the most vibrant states of India, and its charm reaches up to the brim during the International kite festival in Jaipur. Celebrated every year from 14th-16th of January; the festival witnesses huge participation from voracious kite fliers. People from all over India travel to the city to rejoice the fun and frolic of the kite festival. The three-day festival spills both colors and thrill in the air of Jaipur. As Makar Sankranti is a government holiday, the city celebrates the day off during the festival as people from different age groups engage themselves in the battle of kites. One can usher in the aura of children running over the streets, kids chasing kites and people from their rooftops struggling to cut the other person's kite. The whole city witnesses the flying of myriad kites with their different shapes and colors. The kites which are adorned with lights add more brightness to the already illuminated scenario. People cheer in the revelry of kite festival by either enjoying the enchanting spectacle of blue, green, yellow, purple and orange kites against the serene blue January sky or by zealously participating in the battle of kite flying. The festival provides a kaleidoscopic view of the vibrant art, culture, and heritage of Rajasthan. One of the unique festivals in Rajasthan, the carnival is enjoyed equally by all the people.

Significance of the Festival

Roof top set up for Kite Flying
Rooftop set up for Kite Flying
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The Kite flying festival is celebrated every year on Makar Sankranti, and there is an age long history behind this merriment. Winters make one's body dry and dormant, and people suffer from frequent bouts of cold and cough. The move of the sun towards Uttarayana is believed to begin on Makar Sankranti. It is celebrated with much enthusiasm as it's rays help heal the infections afflicted to a person during winters. Thus the people of Jaipur cheer over this movement of the sun from Sundhanu Rashi that is the month marked by Sagittarius to the Capricorn month of Makara Rashi.

Features & Events at the Festival

 

Kites for Uttarayan Festival
Kites for Uttarayan Festival
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The lively festival of kites is the cynosure of January in Jaipur.
Here's a list of things that make the festival all the more interesting:
  • On the day of the celebration, people express their reverence to the sun by taking a holy dip in the auspicious water of Galtaji. They pray to the sun to bestow them with a healthy life and good harvest.
  • Along with the kite flying activities, people of Jaipur also relish the delicious delicacies prepared especially during this day. These include the city's famous sesame brittle and seeds ( Gajak and Til ke Laddu respectively) and the renowned fiber sweet called Feeni. Thus the delicious feast complements the savory ambiance of Jaipur.
  • Since the whole city immerses in the celebrations, the kite festival majorly takes place in the Jaipur Polo Ground where it is also inaugurated. Besides, people fly kites from their rooftops, from over the monuments, in the streets and forts like Nahargarh.
  • The government of Rajasthan organizes the three day Kite festival in Jaipur. The whole city shuts down, shops are closed, and banks do not open on this day, to celebrate the festivity. 
  • The fiesta is divided into two parts, namely the Friendly Kite Flying session and the event of Kite War. People participate with an enthusiastic spirit to win the prizes that are distributed on the last day of the festival within the premises of Umaid Bhawan Palace.

Celebrations at the Kite Festival

Jaipur Kite Festival or the International Kite Festival has grown into a magnanimous event which witnesses enormously large participation of people from all walks of life, across the country. Held at the Chaughan Stadium i.e. the Jaipur Polo Ground, the area is divided into two parts. The event is also a two parts celebration-
  • Kite War

    Kite War which is a fierce battle between participants. All through the three days, the agenda of the participants is too cut the string and bring down the kites of the fellow competitors. The winner is decided on the basis of who cut the maximum number of kites.
  • Kite Flying Session

    Kite Flying Session is a friendly recreational activity in which majority of the people participate. From kids to adults, you can find anyone and everyone trying out their hand at the activity. While the grown-ups go for the traditional looking square shaped kites, the ones with the cartoon faces and weird shapes are a hit among the kids. 
The event is a three day festival, after which the winners are facilitated at Umaid Bhawan Palace’s royal premises.

The blue sky is sprinkled with vibrant kites giving a mirage of a rainbow. Local dancers and street performers gather here to entertain the crowd. You might also find camels and horses on which you can avail a ride by paying a small charge. The dazzling sight is an activity that you must surely participate in or at least witness it once in a lifetime. From dawn to dusk, you can find people flying kites all across the city, not just at the Polo Ground but also at every rooftop, community parks and open public spaces. Besides, delicious sweets are prepared especially for the occasion that is savoured by one and all.

Safety Tips for the Festival

Besides the zeal and fervour of the large scale celebrations, the festival comes with its own set of disadvantages and hazards. In order to win the competition, people tend to coat their strings (manjha) with metal or glass so they can easily cut down other people’s kites. This string is a deadly weapon, it is extremely thin and is barely visible to the naked eye. As a result, hundreds of birds get caught and tangled in the glass or metal coated manjha. Besides causing severe infection and injuries to the birds, it cuts down their flight and sends them falling right to the ground. In case these birds are lucky enough to not become the supper of the stray dogs, cats and other pets, they die due to extreme infection and bleeding. This is one of the major concerns at the festival and they also have provision for a rescue van to tend to the fallen birds but despite that, hundreds of birds still die every year.

And not just birds, humans and street animals have also fallen prey to the hazards of this deadly ‘manjha’. When these kites come falling down, the sharp string sometimes gets attached to the rickshaws and bikers. It makes a sharp cut at the human skin and is not without risk. In addition to that, several young children especially small kids meet with accidents on the roads trying to chase the falling kites or flying one of their own. Sometimes they even fall off roof-tops, if they are not too careful. We advise you to be extra careful if you are flying one of your own or if you are participating in the festival.

Food and Snacks at the Festival

Not just at the site of the Kite Festival but all across town, there is an environment of festivity, gusto and good cheer. Sweet delicacies at prepared and stalls are set up everywhere. Even at the Polo Ground, you will find numerous stalls set up selling sweetmeats, snacks and beverages including Rajasthani specialities like phirni, daal ki pakodi, til laddoo etc.

History of the Festival

Makar Sankranti marks the end of winter season and the advent of summers. The day is also known as Uttarayana as the sun embarks on a northward journey. In olden days, people used to spend most part of this day outdoors, getting exposed to the sunlight and enjoying its benefits. It was believed that the cough, cold and the bacteria infecting the body during the winter can be cured by the sun rays as it carried medicinal properties, especially on this day when it started its journey north. The bright rays eradicates the germs, infections and insanitation.

So gradually while sun soaking, people started getting involved in recreational kite flying shenanigans. Initially, people in close vicinity used to compete; the one who could cut the string of the other person would win hands down. There were extra points given if you could wrap the cut-out kite around your own kite’s string and bring it down with you. Thereby, earning an extra kite as your prize. Gradually, the tradition developed and propagated so much so that now the very day is marked by kite flying tournaments all through the country. Jaipur took it to another level when they started hosting the International Kite Flying festival here on the day of Makar Sankranti every year.

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