In January, the “Pink City” of Jaipur, India adds a few more colors into the mix. Every year, the skies are filled with kites of all shapes and sizes as the city’s residents celebrate the Kite Festival. Here’s a bit about what you’ll see during this special celebration on our tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
Kites, of course!
There are two kinds of kite-flying that happen during the festival: friendly and fighter kiting. Both are equally bright and jubilant, but fighter kites, called patang, are there for a battle. These kites are equipped with a sharp line that can cut neighbors’ kites out of the sky. (Just make sure you look up!) Those flying friendly kites will only have to worry about bumping into the occasional colorful balloon.
The Kite Festival marks the transition of the sun to makara rashi, a new astrological sign, and also welcomes winter’s end. Along with gathering on rooftops for kite-flying and listening to traditional folk music performances, people come from across India to visit the temple at Galtaji. Pilgrims and devotees take a dip in the natural spring water before offering up gifts to the Sun god, Surya.
Sweets and sesame are popular treats during the Kite Festival. Til Ka Laddu, a traditional treat made with sesame and jaggery, a type of cane sugar, is served across the city—and it’s easy to make at home! (You can find jaggery at almost any Indian or Asian supermarket.) Locals also indulge in gajak, a sesame and cashew brittle, and doodh feeni, which is made with condensed milk.