Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India
It was a dark night. The moon was nowhere to be seen as indeed he had been relegated to the recesses of darkness by the Lunar cycle. In other words, it was a “No Moon” day. The darkness was enough to send a shiver down the spine of a walker in any lonely part of the city on any other night. But this was not any other night, it was the night of Diwali. The darkness was pierced with brilliant light from a million lamps which flickered tantalizingly in the breeze. The lamps shone brilliantly from every home and temple of the town. The sky erupted in a technicolor light as fireworks blazed in dazzling splendor. Children shrieked in joy as they lit the fireworks and watched in innocent awe. It was a night of celebration, a night of joy and there was no place for darkness. Darkness had been banished from every corner of the town.
This is a typical scene on the night of Diwali across the length and breadth of India. Diwali is the most important of festivals and Diwali in India is akin to Christmas. Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and truth over untruth. The reason why we celebrate varies from region to region, but it is always an occasion for joy and revelry. Diwali in India is a public holiday and is a festival that is spread over five days, but the main festival coincides with the No Moon day and night which falls between mid-October and mid-November every year. The festival is celebrated across India and also in Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Myanmar, Fiji, Guyana, Sri Lanka, and some other countries. Diwali is an occasion for prayer, celebration, socializing with friends and family, gorging on sweets and savories, shopping and flaunting new dresses, in general, a time for celebrating the sheer joy of living.
The spirit of Diwali is infectious and no one can escape it, it can be experienced in every city and hamlet of India, however here are some of the best places to celebrate Diwali in India.
Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India-Ahmedabad
Diwali in Ahmedabad, India’s first World Heritage City acquires a different lustre altogether. The city where Mahatma Gandhi stayed for twelve years and where stand many historical monuments like the exquisite Sidi Sayed Jali has a characteristic Joie de Vivre which comes to fore in the way it celebrates its festivals, be it the festival of Kites or the festival of lights, Diwali or Deepavali. Diwali in Ahmedabad holds a special place in my heart as I have been privileged to celebrate many Diwalis here. Ahmedabad is indeed one of the unique places to celebrate Diwali in the country. The excitement of Diwali sets in much before it arrives with schools and colleges being closed for Diwali vacations.Shopping for sweets, fireworks, clothes, and gifts take on a ritualistic contour. Over a five day period, the festival is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. Diwali means an offering of ritualistic prayer and worship of the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi. Diwali also marks the commencement of the New year in Ahmedabad. On this day people don new clothes and visit each other’s houses, wishing and praying for all that is good in the New year. I still remember the never-ending stream of visitors who trooped to my house and stopped to admire the rangoli design on the porch of our house lovingly crafted by my mother.
Head to Ahmedabad to be swept away in waves of love, friendship, and celebration this Diwali. And when you are there do not forget to feast on the traditional and authentic sweets and savories that are prepared with great love in houses across the city. Not that you would have any chance of escaping given the legendary warmth and hospitality of the people. I would like to recommend one favorite dish of mine here.
I have fond memories of returning from school to see my mother along with ladies from the neighborhood deftly kneading the dough while simultaneously gossiping about the latest happenings in the neighborhood.This was one of the virtually ritualistic rites that I had come to associate with Diwali. The womenfolk were busy making the tantalizingly tempting snack known simply as Mathiya. Mathiya is an authentic and traditional snack that is made during Diwali. It is made with lentil flour that is expertly kneaded and flattened into thin round sheets which are then deep fried. I still remember nocturnal raids in the kitchen to loot this treasure which used to occupy two huge aluminum containers. This salty and slightly tangy snack is unique to Ahmedabad and Gujarat and the taste is definitely going to linger with you as it does with me after all these years. For me, Ahmedabad will always remain one of the best places to celebrate Diwali in India.
Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India-Amritsar
Diwali in Amritsar, the home of the serene Golden Temple is nothing short of a revelation. The Golden Temple and its vicinity are dressed up for the occasion in multi-hued lights which are scintillating to behold. Fireworks dazzle in the hands of experts who specialize in their craft. In fact, there is a saying in Punjabi which roughly translates as, “home cooked food and Amritsar’s Diwali are incomparable”. The Sikhs celebrate the release of Guru Hargobind Sahib in 1619 which coincides with Diwali at the Golden Temple in magnificent style.
The brilliance of the lights combining with the light of the fireworks reflects from the golden sheen of the temple and fall mesmerizingly on the silvery surface of the waters of the Sarovar to create an ethereal and divine ambiance. The soothing sound of hymns emanating from the sanctum sanctorum complete the feeling of bliss. A Diwali in Amritsar is something that will truly touch the core of your very being.
And when you are in Amritsar do not let go of the opportunity to partake of food from the community kitchen called Langar. I promise the food will taste sublime and you will feel that the food has been cooked by some divine hands. All these experiences ensure that Amritsar ranks high in the list of the best places to celebrate Diwali in India.
Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India-Jaipur
The royal city of Jaipur also famously known as the Pink City. A city which is the capital of the Western Indian State of Rajasthan. A city that is a gateway to the Thar Desert. A city that seamlessly blends heritage and contemporary lifestyles is a great place to be in during the festival of Diwali.
The rich and royal heritage and the vibrant and colorful culture of the city seem to build into a crescendo during Diwali making Jaipur one of the best places to celebrate Diwali in India. Jaipur, a city embellished by forts and palaces renders itself naturally to the grandeur and brilliance associated with Diwali. The famous shopping areas like Johri Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar are brilliantly lit and decorated, they stretch like exquisite garlands across the city. The Jal Mahal or Water Palace which normally looks like a shadow in the waters at night is transformed into a glittering jewel glowing in the waters against the background of the hills. The entire city seems to have been bedecked with glittering jewelry at night. To get a breathtaking view of the resplendent city one can head to the Nahargarh Fort or Amer Fort (Amber Fort) and revel in the beauty of the city lying stretched out below.
As you get totally lost in the beauty of Jaipur in Diwali, do retain enough awareness to taste the seductively tempting sweets of Jaipur which include Ghevar, Mawa Kachori, Kaju Katli, Gulab Jamoon to name just a few. Enjoy Diwali and take home the sweetness of Jaipur back home.
Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India-Varanasi
Celebrating Diwali, one of the most important of Hindu festivals in a city that is akin to the Vatican for Hindus is indeed a unique experience. The spiritual aura of the city, the silent presence of the sacred river Ganga, the famous ghats, all these combine to make Diwali a truly surreal experience. But what is really noteworthy here is that Varanasi is known more for the way it celebrates Dev Diwali, which is a festival that falls fifteen days after Diwali.on the occasion of Kartik Purnima, Full Moon Day. The steps of all the Ghats on the banks of the river Ganga are embellished with more than a million earthen lamps. A million reflections of the earthen lamps create a myriad, mystical, and kaleidoscopic effect on the sacred waters of the river Ganga.
Lit lamps are set afloat in the river and the sight is really enchanting as the lamps seem to float gracefully on the river of life. During this time the Government also organizes a cultural festival known as Ganga Mahotsav.The festival includes musical performances from some of the maestros of Indian classical music, a boat race, an exhibition of local arts and crafts among other activities.
Varanasi and the river Ganga seem to don a divine cloak during the festivities, so beautiful is the atmosphere that it is believed even the Gods descend to take a dip in the sacred river on this day.
You may tend to forget the baser instincts like hunger when you are in spiritual Varanasi, but nonetheless do not forget to taste a plate of steaming hot Kachoris and another with steaming hot, juicy, sweet and syrupy Jalebis.
The sweetness of the material and the spiritual experience will leave you rejuvenated for a long, long time. Varanasi and its spiritual sheen make it one of the best places to celebrate Diwali in India.
These are only some of the best places in India to celebrate Diwali. There are many other towns and cities that have their unique styles of celebrating the festival of lights. Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities celebrate the festival with equal zeal and gusto. Goa, India’s holiday hotspot celebrates Diwali in a unique manner. Effigies of the Demon Narkasura who was killed by Lord Krishna are burnt at dawn on the day of Diwali. Elsewhere in a small village named Purushwadi in Maharashtra which is known for its fireflies festival, when millions of fireflies spanning more than 200 species set the night ablaze with their mating flashes. Celebrating Diwali in this sedate village of Purushwadi and walking the streets with the children as they carry lit lamps and collect oil from every household is indeed a unique way to experience Diwali.
Wherever you celebrate Diwali in India, from the smallest village to the biggest city, one thing is guaranteed, that is undiluted joy, celebration, and love.
Are you traveling in India during Diwali? Are you posed with questions like, which are the great places to celebrate Diwali in India? What are the different ways of celebrating Diwali in India? What is Diwali? What is the significance of Diwali and what is the story of Diwali? Then we hope this post has provided some answers.
Have you experienced the excitement of Diwali? Which are your best places to celebrate Diwali in India? What is your Best Diwali Destination?
Do let us know about your Diwali experiences through our comments column, I am sure they will be enlightening.
Till then, hearty Diwali Greetings from us, have a dazzling and safe Diwali.
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