Diwali is one of the most important and widely celebrated festivals in India. The festival of lights marks the return of Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Laxman to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. As per Hindu mythology, the villagers welcomed Lord Rama who slayed the demon king, Ravana, by lighting up the entire city with diyas. The festival also holds significance for Sikhs who celebrate the return of Guru Hargobind Ji, the 6th Sikh Guru, from imprisonment and for Jains as it signifies Mahavira’s attainment of salvation. Besides religious importance, Diwali in India is a five-day celebration marked by lights, gifts, sweets and meeting your loved ones.
The festive period starts with Dhanteras, the day on which people worship Kubera the Lord of Wealth. This is followed by Kali Chaudas and then the day of Diwali when people worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. The day is also marked by decorating the house, lighting candles and diyas, wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts and devouring good food and sweets. Govardhan Pooja precedes the main day of Diwali and the festival ends on the occasion of Bhai Dooj which celebrates the bond between a brother and sister.
The traditions followed during Diwali vary across different regions of the country and some places should once be visited by all travellers during this festival. If you plan on travelling through the country during this time, this list of the best places to celebrate Diwali in India will surely come in handy.
6 Best Places to Celebrate Diwali In India
The City of Lakes lights up for Diwali unlike any other place in the country and it is truly a sight to behold. Udaipur Palace along with the numerous landmarks are completely decked up and becomes even more enchanting during the festive days. People of Udaipur tend to go all out while decorating their homes and the streets are lit up too. Besides these festivities, the city also hosts the Udaipur Light Festival which is a culmination of good musical performances, amazing food and dance.
The hometown of Lord Rama celebrates Diwali with grandeur. Last year the city set a Guinness World Record by lighting 900,000 oil lamps and keeping them lit for 45 minutes as a part of Ayodhya Deepotsav. The diyas are usually lit up on the various ghats present in Ayodhya and the phenomenon is truly wonderful to witness. Besides this, the residents of Ayodhya also set out to decorate their homes, light up fireworks and take part in the festivities by dressing up.
One of the most religiously significant cities of India, Varanasi celebrates Diwali in full glory with a beautiful display of fireworks and a special Ganga Aarti with the ghats full of illuminated diyas and candles. The city also hosts the major event of Dev Deepavali after 15 days of Diwali which is marked by ‘Kartik Snan’ a dip in the holy river, the Ganges, the procession of Hindu deities through the streets of the city and the ghats lines with almost 1 million diyas. Diwali in Varanasi is an experience that should be witnessed by all.
Another great place to witness Diwali in India is Amritsar city. Home to the most significant Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, Amritsar celebrates Diwali along with Bandi Chorr Divas which marks the return of Guru Hargobind Ji, the 6th Sikh Guru, from imprisonment by Emporer Jahangir. The Gurudwara is illuminated and makes for the most stunning site. The city celebrates the occasion by arranging kirtans and also a colourful display of fireworks.
A unique experience, the city of Pushkar hosts the annual Camel fair during Diwali. The fair sees over 50,000 camels decorated with embellishments participating in the event and walking the streets of the city. The fair also has various events such as camel races and traditional dances that you can explore while here. Pushkar is also home to a lake surrounded by various temples that are amped up for the occasion of Diwali and are a stunning sight to enjoy.
One of the most exciting places to celebrate Diwali in India is Odisha. The state starts preparing for the auspicious day weeks prior and a 15-day-long celebration dedicated to Goddess Kali ends on the day of Diwali with a stunning procession to the temple. Puri Jagannath Temple and the people of the state follow the special ritual of Bada Badua Daka where jute sticks are burnt to invoke the blessings of ancestors and forefathers.
The celebration of Diwali in India should be witnessed by every person once in their lifetime. The festival marks joy and the celebration of good over evil. The people of India observe this festival with the utmost enthusiasm and you can almost feel the flow of happiness in the air as Diwali approaches. If you are travelling during Diwali, then make sure to add the above-mentioned places to your list and make the most of this festive season.
Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali!