Makar Sankranti Festival
Makar Sankranti is celebrated widely across the country and in different names. It is celebrated as Pongal in southern India and Lodhi in north. One sees the famous makar jyoti in Shabarimalay in Kerala – God’s Own Country.
The Name “makar” means movement. It is the time when the sun transits to the “makar rashi”. It is the festival of sweets, kites, harvest, and a new beginning full of joy and happiness.
I had one of the beautiful experiences of the makar sankranti this year. I took a trip to one of the villages in Karnataka to have the experience of this harvest festival. There was no better way to celebrate it than to celebrate in the village where the actual harvest takes place.
The small village was decked up to welcome the harvest season. Every house brightly lit with colourful lights and handmade designer pottery lamps. Bright yellow flowers decorated the entrance.
The roads decorated with huge rangolis of various designs. The paddy fields swayed with freshness. The womenfolk wore bright sarees and adorned themselves with the best of jewellery. Kids played on the streets beautifully dressed. The head of the family performed the pooja praying for their fields and to their cattle.
Evening came; the sky seemed to have its own colour and the clouds its own colourful shapes. On closer look, there were kits flying high in the sky. Competitions were being held for the best kite flyer and the unique kite in the village. The kites flew free as if no one to catch them. Then, came a dragon kite from nowhere to hit the sun kite. The sun kite seemed to escape and the dragon got more furious to have missed it. It chased the sun kite and was about to cut it. Just then a a fire kite came along and killed the dragon kite. What a sight it was! The entire crowd was cheering and applauding this chase in the sky.
Nearby, I saw a small crowd gathered and witnessed the traditional hen fight. A beak to beak and a neck to neck fight. It was to prove – I am mightier than you – beat me if you can. Finally, the stronger one won.
Towards dawn, in the open ground, there was another surprise awaiting – the bull chariot race. The mud pounding from the ground while the bulls pulled the chariot reminded of one of the scenes from a Hindi movie. The bulls ranging in rage and moving towards the finish point while the riders balancing themselves to keep up the pace of the wheels is a sight to watch. The mightier, the fastest bull won, and its master beaming with a broad smile.
The day ended with lot of breathtaking activities and a memorable one to remember for a lifetime.
While boarding the bus back to the city, I turned back and thought – Festivals of India truly lies in the villages of the country than the glitters of the metros. Life is here.
Featured Photo by baejaar