The Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India – The Festival of Lights

4 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

4 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

4 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

4 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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.

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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.

4 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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.

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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.

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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.

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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.

4 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India    4 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

4 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India    4 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

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77 thoughts on “The Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India – The Festival of Lights

  1. Flo Reply

    I would love to observe the celebration and festivities in India one year! The festival of lights looks incredible, and your mother’s rangoli design is beautiful. I had an opportunity to learn rangoli when I was in Mysore but unfortunately ran out of time. Hopefully 2018 or 2019!

  2. Clara Reply

    Diwali seems such a magic celebration! I would really love to live such an experience one day, maybe in one of your places 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. robin rue Reply

    Diwali sounds like such a fun celebration. I think it would be great to see it from one of these places in India.

  4. Sarah Bailey Reply

    I can imagine that spending Diwali in India could be a really interesting time, full of colour and light. If I ever make it there at such a special time I’ll have to keep these recommendations in mind.

  5. candy Reply

    Heard about the festival of lights. Suppose to amazing and from your photos it does look amazing.

  6. Jeanette Reply

    You have such beautiful pictures there. I love the picture of the reflection off the water. I never knew India was as pretty as this until I started reading your posts.

  7. Lisa Reply

    I bet this was just amazing to see. Your photos really help make me feel like I am there experiencing it.

  8. amanda obrien Reply

    Wow such stunning photos! You seem to have covered Diwali in so many parts of India! I have been to Varanasai but not during Diwali. I live in London so we have big celebrations here but they are not as photogenic!

  9. Anosa Reply

    I have heard of Diwali but don’t know much about but I do know it would be awesome to experience it in India

  10. Liz Mays Reply

    It would be amazing to experience the Diwali celebrations in India. It would be hard to decide where to spend most of my time!

  11. Kay Reply

    Diwali looks amazing! I’d love to see all of the decorations and learn about it more in person. Thanks for the inspiration and the tips – hopefully one day I can see it for myself 🙂

  12. Lori Vachon Reply

    Thanks for sharing your suggestions! The pictures definitely show what a magical celebration this is, so many great places to celebrate.

  13. Sapphire Kharyzma Reply

    I remember the first time my father took me to see the celebration of Diwali in Trinidad. I was so amazed at how beautiful it was. You’ve shared some great suggestions, thank you!

  14. neha Reply

    I have heard a lot about the floating diyas in the Ganga river in Varanasi. And how the Amer Fort in Jaipur gets all decorated with twinkling lights in Diwali. Oh..I miss the festival living in a metro where people are so busy with their lives. I would say, to really see the spirit of Diwali, one should head to the smaller towns where every single home is decorated with diyas and lights and the whole town turns into a starry heaven. I love this festival.

  15. Louiela Reply

    As beautiful the lights and fireworks are, the essence and meaning of celebrating Diwali is even more important… I’d been greeting my Indian friends “happy Diwali” before but it just now that I understand the real meaning of it…

    Hope to experience Diwali soon… this post gave me option where to celebrate it, I have to decide soon 🙂

  16. Mario Reply

    Thanks for the interesting and detailed article! I just love your pictures! I’m about to visit Indonesia again this year (mainly Lombok & Flores) and just had to took up the date of the Diwali festivities as you mentioned it to be quite akin to Christmas – bad luck for me though, as it may also be celebrated on Bali (as Hindu is one of the main religions there), yet as you also mentioned festivities are during Oct/Nov… And I’ll be going in December 🙁 . Well, guess I’ll keep this in mind and will consider visiting India during that time on one of my future trips 😀 .

  17. Chris Reply

    Wow, how amazing! You mentioned Diwali is also a fairly big celebration is Malaysia – I may be there during the period so will be sure to keep an eye out for popular sights. Although, I’m sure it won’t be the same as being in India for it

  18. Dogvills Reply

    I have never been to India but if I do, I would want it to coincide with the Diwali. This is one awesome experience I know I will treasure for a lifetime. Thanks for sharing your photos. You are fortunate to have such a rich cultural heritage.

  19. Alli Smith Reply

    What a fun celebration! I love celebrations with fireworks and socializing with family and friends. I’d love to visit and experience it for myself.

  20. Melanie Reply

    I would love to experience Diwali in India! These are great tips! And thank you for telling me what that sweet orange goodness is called. I tried Jalebis at an Indian market in Africa, but could not remember what it was called. It was soooo good!!

  21. Jenn Reply

    Thanks for this very interesting post! Before reading, I had no idea what Diwali was. I love that is celebrated over 5 days and gorging on sweets and savories is part of the celebration. I’ve love to visit Ahmedabad and see what it’s like 🙂

  22. Ambuj Saxena Reply

    Thank you for a wonderful post on Diwali. It’s amazing the way you have captured the essence of various cities. I have been fortunate to have celebrated Diwali in Ahmedabad too though only for a few years but the colors and the energy level of people there is unbeatable. Anyways thanks for sharing a well written post and inspiring me to write on Diwali.

  23. Henry Riley | Live The Venture Reply

    Woah, this looks amazing! I long for a chance to go to India and experience that great country with all of its heritage, history and charm. The food looks really amazing and the authenticity of the candles and lights just add to the magical experience. I am certainly going to plan a tour for my company to India during Diwali. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Swati Reply

    I love Diwali for the lights and brightness it brings with it. Loved your post on the key places in India for Diwali and the mouth watering delicacies to be had. Food and festival in India go hand in hand, so local delicacies are something that one should try. I am already planning a visit to Amritsar or Ahmedabad or Varanasi for my next Diwali !

  25. Leigh Anne Borders Reply

    These sound like some great places to celebrate. I am sure the lights are just beautiful.

  26. Svetoslav Dimitrov Reply

    Have I told you how much I love your writing, dear friends? For a moment, I teleported myself among the miraculous scenes you described. And with these splendid photos – oh, my!

    Pinned the post to re-read when I head to India.

  27. Abhinav Singh Reply

    That’s a very interesting blog. I have celebrated Diwali in Varanasi. It was magical. I have celebrated Diwali in Mumbai and Goa. While Goa was not much, Mumbai’s Diwali at Nariman Point was the best I have seen. Next year, I plan to celebrate Diwali in Ayodhya.

  28. Laura Reply

    This is super interesting and informative. Diwali seems like such a beautiful and fun ceremony. I have actually never celebrated it, but I’d wondered about it!

  29. Chantell Collins Reply

    Thank you for this detailed post! I actually didn’t know anything about Diwali besides that it is celebrated in India (now I realize it is also celebrated in many other countries). I love the idea behind the celebration as a triumph of light over darkness. So magical.

  30. Natasha Reply

    It sounds like there are many great places to celebrate this festive occasion. I love taking part in local festivals and traditions when I visit new places. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Jessica C Reply

    We have this festival in a town near Amsterdam as well, but it is NOTHING like what you describe in India. Those photos are amazing and the places you describe sound like they really take this holiday and make it spectacular. I’m not sure how you could go wrong in any of those places. Looks like a experience you should have at least once in your life!

  32. amit Reply

    Being from England there is a lot of Diwali celebrations that happen here, especially in Cities like Birmingham and Leicester where there are large Indian communities but I can only imagine it being so much more colorful in India. If ever I travel to India and I’m there for Diwali, I’ll refer back to this very helpful post

  33. Candy Reply

    I would love to experience the Diwali celebrations. All of the images are stunning but the one that caught my attention was the sacred river, Ganga. The light illuminating from the river is spectacular and in-person I’m can only imagine what a site that must be.

  34. Janelle Reply

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I love what you share here. So much beauty in the world to see such a shame for me LOL. I never heard of Diwali India but definitely putting this on my vision board as a goal.

  35. Doreen Pendgracs Reply

    Thank you very much for this very informative post about Diwali, Sandy. I learned a lot, and would love to time a visit to India to coincide with this celebration of joy and love.

  36. Promise Chika Maxwell Reply

    India is full of loads of colorful festivals, lovely get together and feasting. I mean what could more better than going around pouring out best of wishes to friends, family and also the unknown. Great post!

  37. Ozzy Reply

    This is an informative post at a totally different level. Great insights on how these very old towns celebrate the festival of light.
    I was fortunate enough to have been able to witness the spectacle in Varanasi in early 2000s and it changed my whole perspective about Diwali and what it entails.
    Growing up all I knew was bursting crackers and gorging on amazing food all day long.
    Thanks for the nostalgia!!

  38. Ashwini KA Reply

    Wow you guys, this is such a detailed and informative post. Being from India, I can relate to every word in this post. This post is so simple and easy way to educate foreigners about our culture and festivals. Good job on the post! May you have a happy Diwali too 🙂

  39. Rachelle Reply

    I love how you’re able to compare the celebration in different parts of India. I honestly didn’t know too much about Diwali and now that I do, I’d love to take part in the celebration next year. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful!

  40. Hayley Hornberg Reply

    We’re currently living in Wellington, New Zealand and they are having a small Diwali celebration on Monday. I’m glad I was able to read your post before so I have some great background information. Beautiful pictures!

  41. Ruth Reply

    What a spectacular celebration! All these places look awesome to celebrate but I would love to spend the festival time in Varanasi. The lights in there look gorgeous. And, I will make sure I eat as much as possible! ;0) #feetdotravel

  42. Lois Alter Mark Reply

    What a perfect time to visit India! Diwali seems like a very special celebration. All those lights are so beautiful and your photos came out great!

  43. Elaine Reply

    I had never heard of Diwali. It looks and sounds and amazing with the fireworks, candles and celebrations. The sweets look enticing, too. I have never heard of Kachoris or Jalebis.

  44. mark wyld Reply

    A celebration of good over evil is something we should all be celebrating. It sounds like a massive celebration if its second only to Christmas. Our kids would love the fire works

  45. Shona Reply

    These all look like incredible places to celebrate Diwali. I’m drawn to Jaipur though if I was to choose one. I would dearly love to celebrate Diwali in India. I’ll pin this in case that ever happens.

  46. Megan Jerrard Reply

    I would love to visit India for Diwali – interesting to hear that the festivities are akin to Christmas – I love the idea behind the celebration that it’s about triumph of good vs evil, and light over darkness – very powerful messages we need in today’s world.

    The fireworks displays are stunning, but I would love to be there to witness the Golden Temple during festivities – it’s such a beautiful scene! Thanks for the tips on where to go 🙂

  47. Kavita Favelle | Kavey Eats Reply

    As an Indian born and brought up in England, I have always been in awe when I have visited family in India during Diwali celebrations. But I have only experienced these in the places where my family are living, most commonly this has been Roorkee. Your recommendations to visit other places in India for Diwali is a very good idea, I can only imagine (and see from your photos and descriptions) how amazing a sight each of these places must be!

  48. knycx.journeying Reply

    I received a lot of Diwali greetings and best wishes from friends and acquitances in India. It must be an important festival and great that I got the information here from your blog! @knycx.journeying

  49. Diana • Opium Teahouse Reply

    The way you described Diwali in the first paragraph was beautiful, it really evoked a sense of place! I’ve never been to India but it feels like Diwali would be a great time for it. Thanks for sharing.

  50. Marge Reply

    I only knew of India’s Holi festival before. It’s interesting to know that you have another wonderful festival called Diwali. I would love to experience it at least once and I think I wanna do it in Varanasi. It looks so beautiful there, all the lights glittering into the night.

  51. Sreeram Reply

    I love the way how wonderfully you have described the importance of the festival in the culture. Thank you so much for sharing this. Wish you a very Happy Diwali.

  52. Danik Reply

    I love the photos in this post and learnt a lot about Diwali over the last week (as I don’t know much about it). I would love to experience this when I visit India one day.

  53. Kaylene Reply

    It would be amazing to celebrate Diwali in India; it’s definitely on my bucket list! Beautiful captures! It would be hard to choose what place to visit for this celebration because all of these spots sound awesome!

  54. Travel Lexx Reply

    I would really love to spend Diwali in India and get an authentic feel for such an important occasion. A lot of people celebrate it in the UK but seeing it in India would be incredible. Beautiful photos and all that food looks mouth-watering.

  55. Amy Reply

    Diwali is absolute magic, oh how I would love to experience India in this fine moment. The lights are not only spectacular, but they just bring such a beautiful sense of love and peace. Such an incredible day of celebration, to be a small part of it would be life changing!

  56. Ami Reply

    Diwali is my favorite festival and yes, Gujarat has been my best place to celebrate it. Though I must also, admit that there are very few other places that I have ventured to for celebrating this. Tendency to stay home for this festival is quite high. However, after seeing this list, I think I should try and go out next year. Happy Diwali to you folks. Cheers

  57. Kirstie Reply

    I have never heard of Diwali. Thanks to this post, now I have! Those desserts are wonderful. I know of Gulab Jamoon, though. It’s really good! It’s amazing that you witnessed this event. Happy Diwali!

  58. Jennifer Melroy Reply

    I feel like most Indian festivals are just an excuse to gorging on sweets and savories. That being said, I have loved every Indian sweet I have ever had so I don’t think this is a bad thing. I really want to see the lamps floating down the river someday.

  59. Carmen Baguio Reply

    The middle school where I teach has a high percentage of Indian students. I have invited to several Diwali celebrations, and I would have to say it is much more exciting than Christmas. I can’t imagine how grand it is in India!

  60. Juliette S Reply

    My first real Diwali experience was in Fiji which has a huge Fijian-Indian population. There were fireworks going off every night for days on end, shops all lit up everywhere – honestly if felt more celebratory than Christmas! All the resorts had the most amazing displays and we attended a friend’s Diwali celebration evening which was a fascinating insight into the event and culture. Great fun!

  61. melody pittman Reply

    Visiting India is high on my bucket list and I hope to attend one of the festivals you have mentioned. They all sound so peaceful and wholesome, I love that about the country. Thanks for the great history lessons. I learned a lot from your writing; very intriguing.

  62. Nic Reply

    This is so much fun and such a cool part of the local culture to see too. For us this is one of our dreams, to visit India during such a special time.

  63. Meagan Reply

    The description of Varanasi is fantastic – and all those beautiful candles! Diwali celebrations always look and sound amazing, and this is no exception. Thank you for the recommendations – if we make it to India, I know when and where to go!! 😀

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