14th was Uttarayan.... festival of kite flying. Celebrated in myriad forms across the country. Diversity thy name India! Also known as Makara Sankranti, Maghi, Lohri, Pongal etc Infact, Sankranti I believe is celebrated all over South Asia and is known by different names in different countries of South Asia. It has an astrological significance too. The Sun moves into the Northern hemisphere and Carpicorn Zodiac constellation on that day. In India, different parts of the country follow different traditions and celebrate it in different ways.
Where we live, it is celebrated for two consecutive days and almost every family is out flying kites :) So were we! We joined three other families and were on the terrace from morn to night. Oh, we had a lovely family time flying kites and hot air balloons.
On the 13th, Upasana was away at her school for an event and we went at 10.30pm to pick her up. Just to give you a glimpse of how crazy this kite flying business is, here are a few pics that I captured from our moving car along a stretch of almost 2 kms. Roads were choc-a-block with people out to buy kites and strings and hooters and caps for the next day.
The wheel that spins the string to fly kites. Often coated with glass powder to cut others kite. This is probably more fun for some people and obviously more business as the demand for kites go up. Each family gathers not less than 100 kites!
The shops that lined the roads
Its a delight to see helium filled balloons being released. There were vendors selling such balloons
Hooters and caps and masks :) All handmade
The turnover of kite business runs into crores of rupees. And mind you, its all in the unorganised sector. All handmade kites.light-weight paper and bamboo sticks are used. The kites are mostly rhombus shaped with central spine and a single bow in vibrant colours and designs.
This was the first day ie 14th. Can you see people on roof tops? Almost every house?
Vandita trying her hand at a kite with her cousin all covered up to avoid getting tanned:) Its team work. One has to handle the spindle of string too as the other tries to fly the kite before getting cut by some others kite.
The kite with a tail was ours.
There were such moments too. Here's Vandita shedding a tear that her kite got cut away :)
When did you last see a sun set? For me, when I was working, it used to be once a year kind of phenomenon. Now, its quite frequent. This was the 14th. I captured this pic while the sun was positioned between two towers far off. I liked this pic a lot.
It was now time for some hot air balloons.
Here it goes. Up, Up and away....
There were fire crackers ligting the sky
And thousands of hot air balloons lit by all enjoying this festival of kites.
We lit some more balloons
At home we made traditional sweets that are made for this festival.
I must say, there were lot of awareness campaigns run by media to take care while on roof tops cause accidents do happen, of not using abrasive strings since they cut wings of flying birds. Am sure it has helped. What an eventful two day vacation! Leaving you with a pic of the sky dotted with kites.