Celebrate Uttarayan Kite Festival in Jaipur

by Vanessa

A rainbow of kites twists and turns above the pink city like giant fluttering confetti for the annual Uttarayan Kite Festival in Jaipur. Running up to this occasion, the markets are full of excited people choosing from kites of every colour and pattern. Determined to get everyone involved, the Karnot Mahal Hotel where we stayed had kites for guests to borrow too so we can celebrate from their rooftops.

On my previous trip to Jaipur, we bombed around on Royal Enfield motorbikes on our heart-stopping, epic road trip to Galta Ji Temple at Diwali. Wandering around Jaipur for the Kite Festival, soaking up the joyous atmosphere was a different kind of exhilarating.

The people of Jaipur, and India as a whole, adore a festival. The city is always full of colour, light, and music in honour of that day’s religious or cultural celebration and each is greeted with the same joy and enthusiasm. I love their infectious zest for life and a good party.

What is the Kite Festival about?

The Kite Festival is celebrated on the 14th January and marks the day when winter begins to turn into summer, according to the Hindi calendar. It is the sign for farmers that the sun is back and that harvest season is approaching which is called Makar Sankranti, or Uttarayan. This day is thought to be very auspicious and will bring good fortune. The festival is to give thanks.

Sunset at Uttarayan in Jaipur - Wanders Miles

Celebrating the Uttarayan Kite Festival in Jaipur

The bobbin that controls my kite felt awkward in my hands whilst the young men  on the roofs all around are having much more luck than me with making their kites fly high. Kite battles are a big part of the festival, the aim is to cut down your opponent’s kite and it can get very competitive, all in good spirit though.

There isn’t a roof anywhere on the horizon that doesn’t have groups of families and friends smiling up at the sky with dancing hands and glorious tissue paper and fabric birds to control. Sweet, gooey, sesame seed treats are the delicious traditional food of the festival, maybe sticky fingers help keep control of a kite string!

People on rooftops celebrating the Kite Festival in Jaipur - Wanders Miles

When we arrived into the city in the middle of the celebrations, we passed The Amer Fort of Jaipur, a stunning historic building situated 11km outside of the city. We were keen to make the most of the height of the kite festival so didn’t stop but a visit to Rajasthan is not complete without exploring this gorgeous palace, thank goodness I’ve visited Jaipur before so I could focus on the festival… flying kites and dancing.

As the sun goes down behind the hills surrounding the city it’s time for the release of hundreds of Chinese lanterns. The music that has been a constant thrum of percussion and drum gets louder and the beat more insistent. Standing here, amongst a throng of locals teaching us how to dance Indian style, I can feel the throbbing bass notes in my blood and bones. It’s overwhelming in the best possible way.

Night time at the Kite Festival in Jaipur - Wanders Miles

KITE FESTIVAL IN JAIPUR: TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Where to stay in Jaipur

Jaipur is a popular destination for travellers of every type. It’s easy to see why after a few days here. Backpackers, organised tours and business people all arrive in this beautiful city looking for somewhere to stay especially with a roof to celebrate Uttarayan in Jaipur. Sophistication, peace, service, and food aren’t just available in the big corporate hotels on the outskirts of Jaipur. City centre hotels such as the opulent ITC Rajputana are worth considering too.

At Kite Festival time Jaipur is busier than usual as kite enthusiasts from all of the world arrive to take part. It’s a good idea to book ahead to relieve the stress of finding somewhere suitable, preferably with a roof, within your budget, this guide on Jaipur will help with choosing your hotel.

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2 comments

Rishi rathod 16th August 2019 - 4:14 pm

I have been to Jaipur few time but never got any chance to witness this beautiful kite festival, Thanks for sharing such amazing blog post. The atmosphere in Jaipur is altogether a different one in this time of the year. Glade to see that you enjoyed so much here in India. Hope to have you back here soon.

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Vanessa 26th August 2019 - 8:55 pm

I love India and seeing the wonderfully vibrant festivals, it’s a joy to explore! I’ll be back…

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