Hundreds of kites dancing in the sky, and us- on our terrace. That’s the memory every Jaipurite has of Makar Sankranti. Kite-flying is one of the most favourite and zealous festivals in Jaipur. It’s not just about flying kites but also about the battleground that the sky becomes and the way the whole group of family and friends gather up on their terraces and hoot and shout along with the music.
But this is not all! There’s so much more to this festival and the day marks as one of the most auspicious occasions of the year. Here are some of the reasons Jaipurites put their heart and soul into celebrating Makar Sankranti.
1. Pavitra Snaan and Daan
While lakhs of people take dips into the Ganges on Makar Sankranti around the nation, scores of people also arrive at Galta Ji Temple in Jaipur to bathe in the seven holy kunds there. The day is celebrated to worship the Sun God. It is considered that taking dips in the kund at Galtaji on Makar Sankranti absolves us of all our sins.
To take a dip in the kund at Galta Ji Temple, you might as well trek up the small hill that exits the city from Galta and Surajpole gates. It’s a sight to behold when you see the amount of faith that Jaipurites put into worshipping on Makar Sankranti.
People around the country also believe that donating clothes, jaggery, corn, ground peanuts and sesame is a good omen and brings prosperity.
2. Harbinger of spring
Makar Sankranti falls on the equinox and the day and night are equally long. After this day, the days start to get longer and nights shorter. It also marks the onset of spring season. This also brings a welcome relief from the cold wave of the bygone winter.
3. The Harvest Festival
Makar Sankranti is celebrated every year as the harvest festival of the country. The Rabi crop is harvested in the month of January and corn, mustard, peanuts, sesame etc. are the major crops harvested at this time. One day before Sankranti, i.e. on Lohri the new crop is offered to god through worshipping fire.
4. Kite Buying
Kite buying is a serious affair in Jaipur. People don’t just by any random kites. They especially head to kite markets like Handipura, Haldiyon Ka Rasta, and Kishanpole bazaar to buy the best kites. It takes an understanding of the science behind the designing of kites in order to buy the best ones. You can find hundreds and thousands of kites in all shapes, sizes and designs according to your preference. Some of the popularly known designs of kites are Chaand-dara, Glass-dara, Mangal-dara, Aankhal-dara, Tripatta, Dadhiyal etc.
5. Kite- Flying
A true jaipurite knows how to fly a kite and the science applied behind it.
It takes a lot of patience, time and effort to prepare for kite flying. The night before Sankranti the whole family sits together to put ‘tang’ in kites with white saddha.
On Sankranti, everyone’s duty is sorted! Makar Sankranti food is all about pakode, moongfali, popcorn, khichadi, gajak, feeni, ladoo and papdi-chat and the children in the house go up and down the terrace for serving them. The youngsters become DJs playing the best songs the loudest.
And oh! What an art kite flying is. As soon as the ‘Dangal’ starts in the sky, you can hear “Woh kaata” every five seconds from a terrace or two around!
- The evening sky
As the day sets in, the kites start to come down and gradually the whole sky is lit up with fireworks and paper lanterns known as “Tukkals” or “Kandeel.” The night view on Sankranti is absolutely mesmerizing and one of those experience that is hard to get over!
So if ever you plan to visit Jaipur during winter, make sure you don’t miss the intoxicatingly enthusiastic vibe of Makar Sankranti!