Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14th January, every year in India. Makar Sankranti denotes Uttarayan or the northward journey of the Sun. The other aspect is that the Sun enters Makar Rashi or Capricorn sun sign on this day. It has a huge religious significance in Hinduism. People visit Galta to take a dip in holy water storage also called Galta Kund.
They also visit Sun temple located close by, on a hill – Surya Mandir to worship the Sun God. Many people also carry out the ritual of performing charity to the poor and feeding domesticated animals like cows etc.
While this was the religious and astrological explanation, Makar Sankranti in Jaipur is also celebrated by flying kites. It’s a local holiday & markets remain closed on this day. People celebrate this day by flying kites. The best place to witness the atmosphere of kite flying is in the walled city area of Jaipur. People engage in kite flying & kite fights!! Kite fights are locally called Dangal or Pech.
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One of the most famous anecdotes associated with Makar Sankranti is that of Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, the erstwhile king of the state. He was a great patron of kites & kite festival and used to fly kites having gold and silver ornamentations. In case, his kite would lose during a kite fight, the person returning it back was rewarded. When the Jaipur royalty was so passionate about kites, it’s natural for this enthusiasm to trickle down to the common people.
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Here are pictures of the Kite festival or Makar Sankranti in Jaipur.
A shop selling jumbo size Charkhi in Haldiyon Ka Rasta, Johri Bazar, Jaipur. Charkhi has the thread line required for flying kites.
Kite fight is akin to a match in cricket. Skilled kites man know how to steer their kites well!
Many of the above pictures were clicked at Haldion Ka Rasta in Johri Bazar, Jaipur. This street is the most popular Kite market and is famous for the shops selling the best quality kites and Manjha– glass coated thread used for flying kites. Usually, quality kites and Manjha is sourced from the city in the neighboring state, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. There is another Kite market in Jaipur called Handipura in Ramganj Bazar. It is lined with many shops selling kites and Manjha. This market is popular for commercial quality kites and Manjha. I’ll retain a detailed post on special food on Makar Sankranti for some other time!
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During Sunset, people switch to flying hot air lanterns and fireworks. It seems as if people are celebrating Diwali!!! I’m unable to post these pictures…maybe next time!! Out of all festivals, the kite festival has still retained its full flavor in Jaipur, unlike other festivals that have faded over the years. It is worth experiencing this festival in Jaipur.