Saturday, October 29, 2016

4 places to enjoy Diwali in a Unique & Memorable way !

Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year usually in the months of October or November.
It is one of the major festivals of Hinduism and it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. The celebrations include millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.
The name of festive days as well as the rituals of Diwali vary significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Dhanteras (in Northern and Western part of India), followed by Naraka Chaturdasi on second day, Deepavali on the third day, Diwali Padva dedicated to wife–husband relationship on the fourth day, and festivities end with Bhai Dooj dedicated to sister–brother bond on the fifth day. 
Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, people dress up in new clothes, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of fertility and prosperity. After puja, there is a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends.

Here is my list of 4 places to enjoy Diwali in a unique and a memorable way:


Varanasi is a crazy place at any time of year, but it becomes even more so during Diwali with a constant stream of firecrackers and fireworks going off all night long. Begin the day with a Ganga bath ritual, followed by exploring the bustling street markets selling Diwali sweets and brightly colored clothes.For the best experience, make sure to stay at one of the riverside hotels in Varanasi, to have an amazing view of the fireworks over the Ganges. Other highlights are the special Ganga Aarti, diyas (earthen lamps) that are floated down the river, and procession of Hindu deities through the streets. 


The city of the Golden Temple is a treat at any time of the year, but particularly so on Diwali, as it coincides with the Sikh celebrations of Bandi Chhor Divas. It is celebrated to mark the return of the Sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, from Mughal imprisonment. Special kirtans (prayers) echo through the city and the Golden Temple is bathed in light – a feast for any photography enthusiast. Club that with the infectious spirit of the people of Punjab, the culinary delights of a typical Amritsari dhaba (eating joint), the cool weather, and the majestic fields of sarson (mustard) in the countryside, and you’ve got yourself a winner.


In Goa, the focus of Diwali celebrations is on the destruction of demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna. Competitions are held in every village and city to see who can make the biggest and scariest effigy of the demon. Some are really huge! They're burned at dawn on Narakasura Chaturdashi, the day before the main day of Diwali. As gambling is also a popular activity during Diwali, one might want to try their luck at one of Goa's top casinos as well.

Purushwadi (Maharashtra)

Purushwadi is a small village located on a hill along the Mumbai-Nashik highway. Families in this little hamlet light a bonfire on Diwali night and cook local food, while children move from door to door, singing traditional songs, inviting each household to pour oil into their oil lamps, mounted atop a handmade bundle of sticks. 

A photo posted by Arnav Mathur (@eat_travel_live_repeat) on