Eat, Pray, Love (Kidding) – The Jaipur Kite Festival
I’ve always loved the idea of visiting India and exploring the amazing sites this country had to offer. I had some time off coming from work, so I booked my vacation for the third week in January. Little did I know that I would come across one of the most exciting and unique festivals in the whole country: the Jaipur Kite Festival.
This festival has to be seen to be believed! It is a three-day celebration that features some of the most beautiful and intricately designed kite art work I’ve ever seen. I’ve always loved flying kites with the kids and the hubby, but these kites easily beat our best efforts.
The festival started out with an inauguration ceremony, including helicopters releasing kites, children releasing balloons, and thousands of people cheering and flying their own kites. The number of kites in the sky was nearly impossible to fathom, and the kite flying festival featured hundreds of people keeping kites aloft for hours.
Later on, there was a big kite sale that featured thousands of different kites. Amazingly, some of these kites cost as little as a few pennies. I picked up a few to take home to the kids and for presents to other friends of mine.
Now, I’ve always been a highly inquisitive person, so I just had to figure out what this festival represented and why it was held. There’s always a reason for festivals this huge, and in an intriguing country like India, its likely to hold some religious and cultural significance.
Reading the Jaipur Kite Festival website, helped me discover the vital significance of the festival. It is celebrated every January 14th and celebrates the transition of the sun from dhanu rashi to makara rashi. It celebrates the northward journey of the sun, otherwise known as Uttarayan.
Hundreds of people swimming then swam in the sacred Galataji river that is said to cleanse you of your sins and bring peace to your family. I thought about taking a swim myself, but I’m not part of that culture, so it didn’t seem quite right to me. As I made my way back to the Gatwick Parking North Terminal in London to pick up my car, I couldn’t get the images of the kites out of my mind. Perhaps I’ll make the trip with the family next year and we can all experience the Jaipur Kite Festival together.