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Diwali is one of the important festivals in India. It is the perfect occasion to indulge in sweets again and remember the longing memories. In India, Diwali, the Festival of Lights is a joyful celebration, 20 days after Dussehra. The name of the festival is roughly translated into the row of lamps.

The festival gets celebrated in different parts of India in different ways. There is no fixed date for Diwali. Rather, Diwali depends on the moon. The festival is always celebrated on the 20th day after the new moon in autumn, in October or November.

Diwali: It's the Festival of Lights in India

Why is Diwali celebrated in India? It is also the New Year festival at the end of the autumn season and the beginning of the new financial year. The worship of Lakshmi occupies a central place in the rituals.

Diwali: It's the Festival of Lights in India

What is the purpose of making Rangoli? In these days intricate and colorful rangolis get drawn on the floor in front of the home. It is a very ancient tradition, usually handed down from mother to daughter. It was the first form of pictorial art on earth as per Chitra Lakshana, an ancient treatise on painting. People believe that bad spirits get trapped in the intricate designs and can not enter home.

After tracing the contours, the expert hands drop a color line to fill the shapes. Women then create shades and intense chromatic effects. Clay lamps in the center or the edges with their trembling flames enhances the beauty of the designs.

Diwali: It's the Festival of Lights in India

How is Diwali celebrated? The first day is Dhanteras. "Dhan" means wealth and "teras" refers to the 13th day of a lunar fortnight in the calendar. In North India, people buy gold or silver items.

The second day is the Naraka Chaturdasi or Choti Diwali. In West Bengal, people worship goddess Kali, while demon effigies get burned in Goa.

The third day is the day of the new moon known as Amavasya. This darkest day of the month is the most significant day of the Diwali festival in North and West India. Lakshmi gets worshiped on this day, with a special puja performed at night.

In the mornings, people wear clean and festive clothes. They buy lush colorful floral garlands and decorate the doors with it. House shrines also get adorned. Good wishes and atmosphere of happiness are in full bloom. They then visit the neighbors with gifts, usually homemade sweets. In nearby temples, people pray to the gods.

In the evening hours, candles and oil lamps are lit everywhere, but now also with electric lights. People play music, sing, dance and eat together. Children burn firecrackers.

The fourth day has various meanings throughout India. In northern India, people do the Govardhan Puja. In Gujarat, it gets celebrated as the beginning of New Year. In Maharashtra, people perform Bali Puja to seek the blessing of king Bali.

The fifth day is the Bhai Dooj. Brothers and sisters gather and share food, to honor the bond between them.

What to eat during Diwali? The shops get filled with a spectacular variety of sweets prepared for this festival. Kaju Katli, made with cashew nuts and often coated with a thin film of an edible silver leaf is most popular. In fact, if ever there is a time to experience the best sweets in India, it is during Diwali.

For those who want to prepare them at home, grind half a bowl of raw cashew nuts to a fine powder. Grease a frying pan with ghee. Mix half a cup of water and sugar until it dissolves. Put it in the pan and boil for a few minutes, over low heat until it has reduced and is sticky. Add the cashew nuts and mix well. Stir for four or five minutes, until they do not stick to the walls of the pan. Be careful not to burn it.

Remove from heat. With wet hands knead the mixture. Flatten it with a wet roller with a little water so that it does not glue the dough. Make a thin layer and cut it into pieces (the custom is to do it in the form of diamond shapes). It is also customary to glue edible silver leaves on one of their sides.

Diwali: It's the Festival of Lights in India

Where to Celebrate Diwali in India?

Are you wondering where it is best to join the Diwali celebrations? Take a look at these Diwali destinations in India.

1. Varanasi

Diwali in Varanasi is something that one should not miss. On the occasion of Diwali, all the Ghats in Varanasi were illuminated with thousands of diyas and the fascinating sight certainly earns Varanasi the title of City of Light in Diwali.

Varanasi attests to Diwali celebrations, with millions of lights and millions of people. People start the day with the Ganga Snan ritual. You can explore the bustling street markets that sell sweets and fireworks. On a sunset boat ride, you can soak in the sight of the lamps by the shore that illuminates the darkness.

Fireworks can be seen and heard all night and to be really a part of it, you should rent a hotel near the riverbank. There is a spiritual aura borrowed from the songs and recitals on the river banks. The festivities culminate in noisy and colorful firecrackers that soar everywhere. The Special Aarti Ganga on the illuminated ghats is a totally different experience.

2. Calcutta

Calcutta or Kolkata has its own style of celebrating Diwali. Kali Puja coincides with the Diwali festival. Kali is worshiped on this occasion unique offerings are made to her during this festival. In addition to the sweets and flowers, fish, meat and even a buffalo calf is offered to the goddess. The city is illuminated with lamps, light bulbs and candles everywhere. A dazzling fireworks show is a part of the celebrations as well. Kolkata, also known as the city of joy, lives up to its name during Diwali.

3. Amritsar

A Punjabi adage goes Dal Roti Ghar Di Diwali Amritsar Di. There is nothing like Diwali's home-cooked food in Amritsar. This is true, the Diwali here coincides with the celebrations of Bandi Chhor Divas, a Sikh festival that marks the return of the Sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, who liberated kings from Jahangir and arrived at the Golden Temple in 1619.

The golden temple shines even more, as it is shrouded in lights and the lake was illuminated with countless oil lamps and candles Fireworks and festivities during Diwali in Amritsar is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience. The city of the Golden Temple is a delight in Diwali. Special kirtans echo through the city and the golden temple bathes in light. The Diyas reflect in the water of the huge sacred pool. It is a banquet for any photography enthusiast.

4. Jaipur

Jaipur, the pink capital city of Rajasthan, is the best place to enjoy Diwali celebrations. Celebrations in Jaipur begin at Dhanteras, the first of the five-day Diwali celebrations. In the historic center, every street gets dedicated to a craft. There is the area of silverware, cloth sellers, shoes etc. The entire city of pink is adorned in varied colors and lights that will welcome you like none you have seen before.

Each area competes to have the most beautiful decorations. The result is a fairytale city transformed into a color chest. Sights such as Fort Nahargarh offers lovely views after the dark. You can see stunning glimpses of the illuminated walled city. In addition to the houses is covered up, the entire markets are decorated with lights.

You can also see musicians in the streets of the city. The markets here sell more than a thousand types of clay lamps in many shapes, sizes and colors. The covered markets are flooded with traditional clothing and crafts. What else? the best-lit market wins a prize. Apart from a feast for the eyes, you can treat your palate with delicious sweets and foods.

5. Purushwadi, Maharashtra

The Purushwadi fireflies festival held in June is a fascinating event to attend here. For a quiet Diwali, away from street fairs and firecrackers, visit Purushwadi, a small village located on a hill along the Mumbai-Nashik Highway. Families in this small village celebrate the Diwali with a bonfire and cook local food.

Children go from house to house, singing traditional songs, inviting each household to pour the oil in their oil lamps, mounted on top of a package handmade from chopsticks. You can participate in the daily life of the village, helping the local women who Rangolis (intricate design done on the floors and courtyards of the houses using colored powder), helping in the rice harvest, looking for a bath in The river, cut wood for the bonfire and toast your own barbecue dinner at the bonfire.

Diwali: It's the Festival of Lights in India

Dev Deepawali in Varanasi

15 days after Diwali, Dev Deepawali is a unique festival held on the banks of the Ganga River in Varanasi, also known as Benares. People say that on this day, the Gods come down to celebrate Diwali. All 84 ghats get cleaned and decorated with flowers, rangolis, and lamps. The river comes alive with flickering flames floated over the Ganges. The annual Ganga Mahotsav takes place three days before Dev Deepawali. It has cultural performances, crafts exhibitions and of course food.

Diwali: It's the Festival of Lights in India

Considered as an important pilgrimage center for Buddhists, Sarnath is a popular tourist spot in Varanasi. Known as the place where Buddha came to give his first sermon after he attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya, Sarnath is definitely a must-see place. The main sanctuary in Sarnath is called as Mulagandhakuti and it is believed that the hut where the Buddha used to sit in meditation during his visit to Sarnath.

Pillars of Ashoka, the national emblem of India is a major tourist attraction in Sarnath. The pillar has four lions at the top, looking back and a wheel called Ashok Chakra placed under the lions. The most sacred place in the excavated area comprising Sarnath is the Dhameka stupa. Another striking nearby construction is the Chaukhandi stupa, a stacked brick structure on top of which stands an octagonal tower.
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  • Friday, October 13, 2017
Kalyan Kalyan Author


  1. Diwali seems like a very interesting and colorful festival to witness. All those lights and fireworks make it especially intriguing. Joining festivities like this can really teach us the culture and tradition of a country or a city!

  2. Oo that Kaju Katli sounds so yummy ! :) Looks like an incredible time, I love ringing in the New Year with a good celebration :)

  3. Being from England, Diwali is celebrated the same way it is in India, the celebrations are immense but I can only imagine how much it's celebrated in India.

  4. Great post! Thanks for all the info on Diwali - I was always under the assumption it was just a single day. It's great to hear the stories behind the entire celebration.

  5. I would love to experience it. I hope it will be celebrated here in the Philippines too. Maybe yes! but not as popular as the holi Festival which I attended last time.

  6. I've heard about the Diwali festival of lights, but never with the details you've included. Sure appreciate the explanations! I'll bet this is a wonderful time that brings many people together and strengthens them in their culture and beliefs.

  7. Coming from South Africa, where there is a big Indian community, I have always been fascinated by Diwali. I would love to experience it in India one day. The golden temple at Amritsar sounds like a place I would like to go for the celebrations. And of course, to taste Kaju Katli will be obligatory.

  8. Thank you so much for explaining Diwali in such detail. I've often been curious about the festival of lights. Varanasi sounds like the place I would like to celebrate it in! It sounds like that light turns everything into a magical scene.

  9. I remember being in Agra for Diwali a few years ago and it was fascinating. I love finding out more about traditions and spending time with local people. We saw some scary homemade fireworks and quite a lot of activity in the street but it was fun.

  10. Thanks for sharing so much information on festival of lights. Diwali is our favorite festival and we love celebrating it with our family. Indeed, we want to visit Amritsar, Varanasi, Udaipur on Diwali to see the decoration but really looks impossible. Hopefully someday.

  11. Wow! Super informative post that made me have a greater understanding for a festival I already admired :)

  12. I always love learning about different cultures and what is important to them! this was a great article! thank you!