The ‘festival of lights’ or Diwali is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India. It is a uniting force in so many ways; it brings together families and communities and promotes camaraderie amongst people.
Everywhere you look, you will find gorgeous lanterns and glimmering lights that signify the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and hope over despair. It’s a time to shop, meet loved ones and eat sumptuous festive treats; Diwali is perhaps the happiest five days in the whole year.
Here are Triphobo’s top picks or the places to celebrate Diwali in India this year:
1. Delhi – Best place in India for Diwali
In Delhi, shoppers throng the markets for their Diwali shopping and restaurants get crowded with families and friends catching up over delicious meals. Around every street corner you will find adaptations of Ramlila taking place on temporary stages or even as street plays. Of course, the firecracker shows here are simply breathtaking. If you are here in Diwali, don’t forget to go to one of the many Diwali melas that happen in the city.
2. Amritsar – Must visit during Diwali vacation
Amritsar transforms into an ethereal paradise during Diwali. The Golden Temple is the grandest testimony to the this festival of lights. It is lit up with candles and diyas and is a transcedental sight. There is a magical aura in the air and the waters surrounding the temple seem to be ignited with the prayers and warmth of thousands of devotees.
3. Varanasi – Famous for Deep Diwali
There isn’t a better place to sample the spiritual vibes of India at Diwali than Varanasi. Bustling with lights, colors and people, Varanasi truly coes alive during the five days of Diwali. There are constant chants that calm your soul, the Ganga seems to carry your worries away with her and the million lights light the fire of resolve in your mind.
4. Jaipur – Best Diwali destination for food lovers
Rajasthani’s treat Diwali as one of their most significant festivals in the year. Rajasthani women make diwali treats like Mawa Kachori, Gond ke laddoo, Sohan papdi and Besan Barfi that taste absolutely ambrosial. There are a number of Diwali fairs that take place during that time as well. Old Jaipur is a chaotic yet gorgeous sight in Diwali.
5. Kolkata – Best place for a traditional Diwali celebration
In West Bengal, Diwali is about pious rituals and boisterous streets . There are a number of exhibitions and bazaars that are set up for Diwali. The Goddess Kali is worshipped on Diwali day and there are luminiscent lights all over the city. She is worshipped at night with offerings such as hibiscus flowers, sweets, rice and lentils.
6. Hyderabad – A must see place during Diwali holiday
Festivities start at the crack of dawn at Hyderabad. The City of Nizams puts on her best apperance during Diwali. From scrumptious sweets to mouthwatering savoury dishes, Hyderabadis open their big hearts and homes to celebrate this festival.
7. Goa – Best place to spend diwali vacation
All over Goa, colorful effigies of Narkasur are burnt and there is much cheer and joy in the air. The whole state comes alive with lights and festive joy. Of course, in true Goa spirit, there is lots of dancing, gift giving and parties.
8. Agra – Witness the Taj Mahal during Diwali
Agra is replete with jubilant celebrations on the occassion of Diwali. Agra Fort is lit up and firecrackers against the backdrop of the legendary Taj Mahal look simply out of the world. Take a trip to the Mahadev Temple where you can witness the rituals of Diwali.
9. Purushwadi – Unique place to celebrate Diwali
Visit Purushwadi, a sleepy little village near Nashik for a unique Diwali. Diwali here is devoid of the noise and chaos, but the beauty of the festival here is that locals light huge bonfires and celebrate in a simple, down to earth manner.
Diwali is so many things to so many people. From an excited kid waiting for his school holidays to an old grandmother looking forward to her family get-together, each one of us holds a special place for Diwali in our hearts. Of love, heart and warmth, Diwali is a celebration of all that is pure within us.