Every year at dawn on the 14th January a lot of people of Jaipur go to the Galtaji for a dip and there after give alms and donate blankets to the poor and feed cows green fodder and grain to the pigeons. Later in the day children and adults alike get on the roof top of their houses and fly multicolored kites, play blaring bollywood music and eat dal ke pakoras, revaries, gazak, phinie and til ke ladoos. One and only aim is to cut as many kites as possible. Food , body functions etc. can wait. The street urchins have a busy day as they try to collect as many cut kites as possible without any regard for their life or limb. The serious kite enthusiasts get invited to a home in the walled as that is where the real action is going to be.
A day before 14th January young and old alike shop for kites and string ( Sadda & Manjha) to fly them with.Budgets are the least of the constraints. Kites come in all colors and all shapes and sizes. They are even made of thin plastic sheets. Companies have their messages put on kites and on some photos of film stars are used to attract customers.There are even chinese made kites being sold in the markets.The master craftsmen who make kites and manjhas have been doing it for generations.
Once the booty is brought home the kites are readied for the next days action by stringing the kites and putting manjha on a sadda charkhy. Nobody wants to waste a single moment of the precious day on mundane details. There is a huge demand for black colored manjha as it is thought to have legendary powers to cut oppositions kites. Chinese manjha is to be avoided as it is coated with metal powder and can conduct electricity and can disrupt power supply if it falls on naked high tension lines.
Kite flying is simple enough if there is some wind blowing and somebody preps the kite for you. Long months of wasted youth flying kites are needed to learn the art of cutting the other guys kites. But once you get the knack every year 14th January will see you on your roof top enjoying the highs and lows of kite flying Jaipur style.
In 1878 Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh ji started the practice of flying kites on Makar Sakranti. Preparation for the festival would start 2 months before the festival date. Master craftsmen from Bareily & Ahemdabad were called to make manjha and kites.The Royals used to fly kites made of silver and gold and their charkhis used to be inlaid with gems. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh ji was also a great kite flying enthusiast. His kite collection is on display in the City Palace Museum even today.There is mention of Lord Ram having flown a kite in Ramchrita Manas of Tulsidasji.
A couple of things to keep in mind when flying kites this 14th is to say no to manjha of any kind and to take good care of ones self. Because accidents do happen. Remember there will be other sankrats. There will be other kites to fly. And the manjha can seriously hurt the birds sharing the sky with your kites. If we will not be considerate of our feathered friends who will be.
Contact UsKaran's Guesthouse, D-76,Shiv Heera Path,Chomu House, C-Scheme,Jaipur,302001 E.Mail. KGH @ AOL.IN M.91-9828284433 T.91-141-2363262 WEB. www.karans.info kgh @ aol.in
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