Jaipur is famous for its festivals and there’s not really a time throughout the year when Jaipurites do not have a festival to look forward to. Even though the major festival season starts during autumn, few important festivals fall during the first half of the year and Makar Sankranti or the kite festival in Jaipur. Both the festivals falls on the same day and are the biggest festival in Jaipur.
Significance of Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is an annual event that falls on 14th January every year. It is a Hindu festival and is celebrated all over the country by different names. Makar is a Hindu zodiac sign and Sankranti means to change direction. According to the Hindu calendar, Makar Sankranti occurs when the sun changes its direction leaving the zodiac sign of Sagittarius and entering the sign of Capricorn. This is the only festival that is celebrated as per the movement of the sun and not according to the Hindu calendar.
How is Makar Sankranti celebrated?
Makar Sankranti is deemed as a very auspicious day and it is believed that any Karma or sacred ritual commenced or performed on this day will be productive and profitable. Charity is of paramount importance on this day. It is believed that after bathing and reciting prayers on Makar Sankranti, one should take a pledge to give charity to needy people. It is said that the charity on Makar Sankranti comes back doubled because we get what we give to others.
What do we eat (food) on Makar Sankranti?
Other than traditional Rajasthani cuisine, people are seen indulging in the appetizing flavours of sweets prepared specially for the day. Sweet dishes made of sesame seeds are prepared. Til Ke Laddu, Gajak, and Feeni are a major speciality of this day. There is a ritual to consume and donate sesame and jaggery. This is the reason that even today, on the Makar Sankranti, ladoos of sesame and jaggery are often made in homes. Stalls are set up everywhere selling sweetmeats, snacks and beverages including Rajasthani specialities like phirni, daal ki pakodi, Rewari, til laddu etc.
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How is Makar Sankranti celebrated in Jaipur?
Jaipurites take a holy dip in Galta Ji Temple in Jaipur and pray to the Sun God for good health, wealth and a good crop. After holy dip, they offer grass to cows and donate clothes and sweets made of sesame seeds. Also, married women follow a custom of gifting household items to 13 other married women.
Makar Sankranti has one more custom associated with it i.e. Kite flying. People celebrate the auspicious day by flying kites, from their rooftops. If you have never seen a riot of vibrant kites in the sky entangled and strangling with each other! Visit Jaipur on 14 January. Crowded rooftops, fun-loving rivalry and savoury feast are the hallmarks of the day.
What is the reason for celebrating Makar Sankranti?
Makar Sankranti signifies the advent of the harvesting season. On this day, people wake up early and offer prayers to God for good harvest and fortune. Another reason behind celebrating Makar Sankranti and people flying kites on this day is to get enriched with the sunrays. During winter, our skin gets dry and the body gets infected making us suffer from cough and cold. The rays coming from the sun eradicates most of the infections. This is because the sun moves in Uttarayana and its rays work as medicine for our body. Hence, being continuously exposed to sun rays during kite flying is beneficial.
Kite Festival in Jaipur
If vo kaataa, pench ladana, dheel dena, lapetna, patang lootna, are the terms you are familiar with, you are definitely a Jaipurite. On Makar Sankranti, all the Jaipurites are seen on their rooftops with kites with echoing sounds of ‘Ye kataaaaa‘ and colourful aerial displays set to music, competition, and Rajasthani cuisine.
The great thing is that a kite festival is a perfect event which the whole family can enjoy rejoicing in the spirit of the day. While the older ones sit back and comment, younger ones are handed over the responsibility of holding charkhis, and the people of middle age participate actively in Kite flying.
You’ll get to see kites of every shade and every design and experience the fight of these kites. From small kites, giant kites, octopus kites to bird and centipede kites, the sky is a dazzling sight. Young children, in particular, love it when the kites are “in character.” In fact, you’ll see some which are quite literally a marvel in their own.
On Makar Sankranti the government of Rajasthan declares holiday in Jaipur, shopkeepers keep their shops close, banks remain closed and everybody celebrates the festival. Jaipurites fly kites dawn to dusk till it becomes barely visible in the night sky. And when the sun sets, you can witness thousands of flying lanterns illuminating the sky. The festival displays a multi-hued view of the lively art, culture, and heritage of Jaipur city.
History of Kite Festival
Sawai Ram Singh ll, King of Jaipur introduced the kite flying to Jaipur. He used to organize an event where he flew kites adorned with gold & silver from the City Palace of Jaipur. Those who would bring his kite back to him were rewarded well. From then kite flying got fame among the public and the tradition of flying kites on Makar Sankranti came into existence. And now it is not just any recreational activity but has become a custom.
International Kite Festival Jaipur 2021
The International Kite Festival of Jaipur is famed worldwide and has prospered into a spectacular event. It observes huge participation from people of all corners. It’s a hit among vacationers and locals, year after year and kite lovers participate from the entire world. The festival is hosted at the Jaipur Polo Ground and is a two-part celebration, Kite war and Kite flying session. This Kite Festival is a 3 days celebration which starts on 14th January and lasts till 16th January. After the three day competition, a prize distribution is held on the last day of celebration. It is held in the premises of Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jaipur.
From getting the kites and prepping up for the kite flying to hopping up on the terrace, checking for nearby competitors, bringing their kites down and soaring the kite as far as it can go, the kite festival in Jaipur is a nostalgic experience. Let’s face it; who wouldn’t want to have fun enjoying in full swing. If kite flying doesn’t quite rock your boat, you could of course choose to chill out and watch the colourful spectacle of kites dominating the sky. With a skyline full of colourful kites, stunning sunset as a backdrop, it is a spectacular event to witness. So, are you curious to visit Jaipur this Makar Sankranti?