Indian Sankranti Sidewalk Art

Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival in India. It marks movement in the zodiac calendar. Today, January 14, is a holiday from work. Many travel to their native places over the three day weekend.

There are two particularly charming features of Sankranti. The most immediately visible are the kites that fill the skies. Children—and others—fly kites throughout the city. Of course, many meet their demise in the dreaded kite eating trees.

Another tradition is the decoration of doorsteps and sidewalks with elaborate drawings. These are mostly done by the women of the neighborhood, and are all the more special because of their temporary nature. You will find these in residential areas all over the city. It is a beautiful Indian folk art.

Yesterday I came across a blocked off street—two blocks worth—where a neighborhood competition was being held. The street was divided into squares, teams of artists were assigned to each, and detailed Sankranti sidewalk art was pitted against one another.

A man saw me taking pictures and invited me to step across the barrier to take more detailed pictures. My ride was waiting so I only had a few moments. Here is a small sampling. There were dozens more I didn’t have a chance to see.

Happy Sankranti!


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