"When the city of Jodhpur joined hands to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Umaid Bhawan Palace in 1993, there were festivities throughout the year," he notes. "One was a kite festival, conceived by myself. The festival was very successful and it got known in the kite world."
"Some years later, Ajay Prakash broached the idea of a yearly kite festival to me." A Bombay travel agent, Prakash had known the Maharaja since childhood because his parents, both medical doctors, were closely associated with the monarchy. "I liked the idea," says Gaj Singh. "I was head of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation at that time and the concept fitted right in with my thinking. The first festival held in 1997 gave us more useful recognition around the world."
"We have the festival dates established now and get regular funding from the government. Our Jodhpur festival leads to the Makar Sankranti celebration on the 14th of January in Jaipur, and elsewhere in India, when kites are flown from roof terraces."