Sunday, 15 July 2012

KITE FESTIVAL


International Kite Festival, Jaipur

The fairs and festivals of Rajasthan are among its tourist attractions besides the well known forts, palaces and natural beauty. The festivals of the state are as vibrant and colorful as its people, and have been a part of local culture for centuries. Some of these festivals have been revived or created by the tourism department to tourism in Rajasthan. The international kite festival in Jaipur is one such festival. It is held in the month of January during a very auspicious period according to the Hindu calendar. Kite flying is an immensely popular pastime in this part pf the country, and the kite festival is an apt way to celebrate this sport which brings the community together.

The international kite festival in Jaipur is a three day festival held annually on makar sankranti, an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar which usually corresponds to January 14th. This day is traditionally marked by kite flying all over the country, but it is a rage in western India, in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The craze for kite flying is the basis of this international festival. The festival starts at the Polo ground in Jaipur, which sees intense competition as people scream and shout, trying to cut the strings of their competitors’ kites. The variety of the kites is the real attraction of the festival. Kites of all shapes, sizes and designs are on display. This is the day that the kite makers of the region wait for the entire year. Kites shaped like caterpillars, airplanes, giant animals, and mythical creatures are seen soaring in the sky. The festival has two main events, namely, the Kite Fight, and the kite flying display. The former is the traditional kite fight wherein the challenge is to cut the thread of the rival kite. The latter is a display of supreme kite flying skills. 

The festival has gained tremendous popularity and nowadays participants from foreign countries are also a regular sight. Kites from all over the world with their unique designs and styles add up immensely to the revelry of this unique festival. The festival is not only about kite flying. A large number of other activities accompany the main event. These include kite exhibition, kite flying training sessions, kite making sessions and traditional folk performances. Each evening is celebrated by a gala dinner. 

On the final day, Air Force helicopter join the celebrations by releasing thousands of colorful kites from the sky. At the same time children on the ground release balloons, creating a scene that completes the grand finale of the festival. Later, the festival shifts to the beautiful lawns of the Umaid Bhavan Palace. The winners are awarded here followed by the farewell dinner with the Maharaja. 

The international kite festival in Jaipur along with some of the best known fairs and festivals of Rajasthan is one of the tourist attractions of Rajasthan.

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