Jaipur Kite Festival is held every year on 14th January on Makar Sankranti. Over the last few years, the Jaipur Kite Festival is organized at Jal Mahal, Jaipur. The previous venue was Chaugan stadium, for years. Jal Mahal is easily accessible in comparison to Chaugan Stadium. It is on the tourist map being located on the road to Amer and Nahargarh Fort. The Kite Festival is organized by RTDC- Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation every year on 14th January in a bid to improve tourism prospects. I have captured a few pictures from this festival in 2016 at Jal Mahal promenade.
These are my thoughts about the Jaipur Kite Festival event organized by the tourism department.
- The festival was organized in a small & secluded area. It doesn’t create the right vibe of a kite festival. There were a few kites holed up in one of the booths at the venue.
- The center stage was occupied by folk dancers and artists. The Tourism authorities seem to have run of ideas. The same performances are held across all festival events in Rajasthan with same artists, be it Gangaur in Jaipur or Camel festival in Bikaner. This is supposed to be a kite festival and not a folk performance!!
- There were very few foreign travelers & tourists. The crowd largely consisted of journalists, media photographers, and the tourism department officials. Where are the tourists?
- The previous venue Chaugan Stadium was grander in scale. The venue and the festival were spread in a huge area. There were a lot more activities for tourists. It also involved participation from the local people. Kite festival at Jal Mahal excluded locals. If it’s a local festival, it should have the participation of locals as well. This helps travelers and tourists an opportunity to interact and experience it in an authentic manner.
- Locals were barred from entering the premises; probably the authorities must be having good reasons for it, I’m not questioning that! Even Indian travelers & tourists were not allowed in the area cordoned off for the kite festival.
It would have been prudent if the festival was organized in the old city area of Jaipur allowing the travelers to experience the atmosphere of the city during the Makar Sankranti. If someone has not yet experienced Makar Sankranti in Jaipur it is high time to do so. The mood is festive with people playing their chosen music on loudspeakers on terraces, the entire friends and family converging together to fly kites and engage in kite fight! Even females are as excited as males when it comes to flying kites in Jaipur. In my opinion, it is this mood that will entice tourists for an experience. The tourism department should map tourists to experience it with local families.
The overall impression of the Jaipur Kite Festival at Jal Mahal was that it was everything except the kite festival. It’s time that the Tourism department gets things going in the right direction!