14 January is celebrated all over India as Makar Sankranti marking the transition of the sun into the Northern hemisphere. This day is also celebrated as the kite day in most parts of India. Kite festival of Jaipur is very popular among tourists. In Jaipur during the Kite festival the entire sky is filled with colorful kites. The three-day festival starts with an inauguration at the Polo Ground, which is the venue for kite flying and fighting for the three days of the festival. A kite flying competition is also held during this festival.
The festival includes two kinds of celebrations. A massive extravaganza follows, with Air Force helicopters releasing kites from the sky, and hundreds of schoolchildren releasing balloons. Kites that look like wasps, exquisite stained glass windows, and graceful mythical birds soar in the sky and the sky shimmers with magic.
Fighting kites beautifully choreographed by the wind look like poetry in the skies, written by kite flyers from many nations. The three days of the festival are divided into two sections. One is the Fighter Kite Competition and the other is the more sober Display Flying and there are prestigious trophies to be won in both categories. Every evening participants are provided with dinner at an exotic location.
On the final day the venue of the festival shifts to the exquisite lawns of the Umaid Bhawan Palace, the royal residence of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. The finals of the Fighter Kite Competition and the final judging of the Display Kites are followed by the prize distribution ceremony, the valedictory function, and a farewell dinner with the Maharaja. As the festival draws to an end, traditional Indian kite craftsmen prepare to return to their humdrum lives, selling handcrafted aerial art for mere pennies.
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