14 January is celebrated in India as Makar Sankranti – heralding the transition of the sun into the Northern hemisphere. It is also a big kite day in most parts of India when children from 6 to 60 can be seen with their heads turned to the sky. In Jaipur kites virtually blot out the sky. Everyone joins in this riotous celebration and shouts of “Woh Kata Hai!” reverberates from rooftops to the accompaniment of drums as adversaries’ kites are cut down. And everyone’s an adversary! Any kite in the sky is fair game.
As you’ve probably guessed, this is one day when the skies above the city come alive with kites – in a hundred different colors, shapes and sizes, fluttering and darting above the rooftops, triumphantly cutting another kite’s string, and soaring way up above the earth. The Jaipur Tourism Development Corporation organizes the International Kite Festival at a local stadium, where kite enthusiasts from all across the world show off their skills. A kite market is held, alongside which are food stalls, cultural performances and special kite displays at night, when illuminated kites – known as Tukals – are flown.
It’s an amazing festival for tourists; tourists can also participate in various kite-flying competitions.