Defying the COVID-19 protocols, the people of Jaipur enjoyed kite flying on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.
It is one of the biggest festivals of the city where family members assemble on rooftops to fly kites and exchange pleasantries over various til (sesame) based eatables and also the local sweet, gazak along with pakoras.
It is customary to invite the sons-in-law to join the celebrations and the kite flying which was once confined to the old walled city is now spread to the different parts of the city. The population of Jaipur which is close to 36 lakhs snowballed in the last one-and-a-half decade.
Ban on assembly of people
The state government had imposed a ban on the use of public address system and assembly of people, but citizens defied the orders to celebrate the annual event.
However, the sale of kites was not better than last year when kites and threads worth Rs 600 crores were sold. This time, the use of Chinese manjha (thread) was banned, but the old stocks from the previous years were sold openly. It is estimated that the sale of kites and thread was worth Rs 400 crores.
In Jaipur, the display of firecrackers follows the kite flying after the sunset. The state administration had banned the use of firecrackers, but the people defied the orders and the firecrackers were burnt. But a large number of the Chinese flying kites (tukkals) were seen dotting the Jaipur sky after sunset.
No kite festival at City Palace
On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, ‘Tukkal’, a large butterfly-shaped kite with different types of Charkhi (spindles) were displayed at the Sarvatobhadra Chowk at City Palace. ‘Tukkal’ kites were a special kind of fighter-kites that were popular and required special skills to fly. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II was an ardent kite-flier and introduced the ‘Patang Khana’ (kite department) to his list of workshops.
Every year, the royal family celebrates the festival along with visitors to the museum on the roof of Sarvatobhadra by flying kites. This is accompanied by live folk music and traditional delicacies. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, this year no kite festival was held at the City Palace.
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