Best Places in India to Celebrate Diwali
Diwali is a festival of lights, of love, of meeting and greeting people and exchanging sweets. Well, every house reverberates with the sound of Lakshmi pooja and prayer songs. Diwali is also about cleaning up the house, offices and shops inside out! This is because it is believed that Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, enters only neat and tidy places. In the evening many people do not lock their homes lest they miss out on richness! Colourful rangoli at the entrance greets every guest. And yes, the best part about Diwali is also about wearing new clothes and looking beautiful.
If you too wait for Diwali festival
, it is time you ventured out to some new places in India where Diwali is celebrated. People are the same everywhere, the festival is also the same but the ambiance and traditions, cuisine, ways of praying etc. differ. This is what brings in some surprise element in your Diwali celebrations!
Exquisite Diwali Celebration in India
Diwali is truly symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. This festival of lights is celebrated to rejoice the home coming of Rama, Sita and Lakshma after 14 years of exile and the defeat of Ravana. Every city celebrates Diwali in its own special way. Let us peep into the Diwali celebrations in some towns which are famous for Diwali celebrations!
Diwali in Delhi
Diwali in the Capital city of India New Delhi, is celebrated with great fervour. The entire city and its markets wear a festive look. You can see banners on shops giving big discounts on nearly all products during diwali! Houses are lit with lamps (diyas) and the floor at the entrance of the house is adorned with rangoli made using coloured sand or petals of flowers. Evenings are also meant for prayers when the entire family gets together and prays to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha.
As awareness about environment conservation and hazards of pollution is catching up with school and college students, the lighting of crackers has reduced considerably in Delhi. However, true to its name 'The Festival of Lights' brightens up the whole city of Delhi and it looks like a beautiful city from your fairy tale book!
Old Delhi is crowded with people from all over Delhi and nearby cities thronging Chandni Chowk market for buying crackers, dry fruits, decoration items and yes, new dresses at cheaper rates. You get all commodities you will need for Diwali at whole sale rates here and if you are good at haggling, the enjoyment of this festival is doubled up for you!
Celebrations for Diwali begin with the celebrations for Dussehra festival. Events that make Diwali special include Dhanteras (when people buy any steel item) and Chhoti Diwali (Roop Chaturdashi). This is followed by Laxmi Pujan and Bandi Chhor Diwas. Next day everyone is ready for Goverdhan puja (annakoot) and then the day day is Bhai Dooj when all sisters pray for good health and long life of their brothers. Schools and colleges in Delhi are closed on Diwali celebrated in October-November.
Diwali in Jaipur
The entire city glows with lights and colourful lamps during Diwali. Streets, shops, homes and buildings are alll decorated with colourful bulbs. Local markets look like paradise all decked up to receive the customers. At places, you will witness musicians on the streets singing melodious traditional songs. Everywhere you will find colourful items to buy which include earthen lamps, colourful 'diyas' and yes, sweets too! There is even a prize for the market that is illuminated the best. This calls for competition and creativity too!
Diwali in Kovalam
Kovalam is a place in Kerala state and is famous for Diwali fervor! Now this is not a place you must visit for loud Diwali celebration; In fact, if you love Diwali festival but want to celebrate it peacefully, away from pollution caused by bursting of crackers, then Kovalam is the place to be in. Well, you can enjoy picturesque natural beauty all around this place.
Diwali in Amritsar
If you happen to be in Amritsar during Diwali, you must be really lucky! The Golden Temple is beautified further with 'diyas'. The reflection of these 'diyas' falls on the water and there seems to be beauty and magic everywhere.
There is even an adage that is common in Punjab 'Dal roti ghar di, Diwali Amritsar di'. It means that nothing can compare to homemade food and Diwali celebrations in Amritsar.
The celebrations are doubled as people also celebrate 'Bandi Chhor Divas' (a Sikh festival) around this time. This festival marks the return of Guru Hargobind Sahibji, the sixth guru. He freed himself and other Hindu Kings from imprisonment by Jahangir and reached the Golden Temple in 1619.
The Diwali crackers will make you forget all your anxieties, fears and worries and you will be fully present to enjoy the celebrations.
Diwali in Goa
Diwali in Goa comprises of your being a part of the Narakasura ritual and Gambling. In Goa, main celebration revolves around destruction of Narakasura the demon. He is destroyed by Lord Krishna.
Competitions are held in villages and the city to see who makes the biggest and scariest effigy of the demon. The effigies are burned down a day prior to main Diwali day (on Narakasura Chaturdashi). If you like gambling, Goa is the right place as you can visit casinos in this city.
Diwali in Varanasi or Banaras
There is nothing more interesting than staying in a hotel preferably a riverside hotel in Varanasi and enjoy the beautiful view of crackers shooting up in the sky over the Ganges! Diwali in such a holy city will surely be a treat for you. The 'ghats' are lit up with the brightness of thousands of 'diyas'. The whole night, you will hear the sound of bursting crackers. Do attend the special 'Ganga Aarti' on illuminated ghats!
Diwali in Kolkata
Kali puja coincides with Diwali puja celebrations. Goddess Kali is offered prayers by her devotees along with fish, meat, flowers, buffalo calf. The entire city is brightened up with lams, candles and bulbs. For the more enthusiastic, there is a fireworks show in this City of Joy Kolkata.
Diwali in Odisha
Diwali is a time for festivity and prayer in Odisha too. Dhanteras is celebrated on the first day and people pray to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity. The second day is choti diwali (also known as Nakara Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas) Lord Rama and Goddess Lakshmi are worshiped on this day. It is believed that Lord Krishna killed demon Narakasura on this day.
During Diwali, ghee lamps adorn the houses and you can hear blasting of fire crackers in the evening.
In Odisha, some people light a lamp inside an earthen pot which is tied to a pole right in front of their residence. This is for calling the spirit of their ancestor -- remembering them in gratitude. They salute their ancestors by invoking the 'Badabadua'.They make a rangoli of a sailboat with seven chambers on the ground. Cotton, mustard, wild creeper, turmeric, salt, asparagus root are kept in each of these chambers. The central chamber comprises of the prasad. Family members pray holding bundle of jute stems in their hands. People in Odisha also worship mortar, pestle and plough which are placed near the puja. People burst crackers and relish sweets and traditional cuisine. Kali puja is performed at midnight by lighting diyas and offering flowers to Goddess Kali.
Bhai Dooj, also called Yama Dwitya, is a time when you can see the love and strength of brother-sister relationship. This is one of the main festivals of Odisha. People also visit Jagannath Puri on the occasion of Diwali and seek the lord's blessings.
Diwali in Mumbai
If you want to see very traditional way of celebrating Diwali, then Mumbai is the place to be in. Marine Drive in Mumbai and Arc of the Queens Necklace offers you beautiful backdrop with hundreds of crackers bursting in the air with you watching their reflection in water!
Purushwadi is yet another village situated on a hill along Mumbai-Nashik Highway. On Diwali, the various families light a bonfire, cook traditional dishes and sing traditional songs. Infants go from door to door singing songs and inviting people for pouring oil into their lamps which are mounted atop handmade bundle of sticks.
Diwali in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand has taken to celebrating Diwali in an eco-friendly way. This has been possible due to efforts by Government and NGOs in creating awareness about environmental pollution. Although this has resulted in sales of crackers getting lower response, the pollution levels in cities has reduced considerably. People love to light traditional diyas and in some places like Dehradun, power was switched off for an hour for thoroughly enjoying the lighted diyas!
Diwali was also the time when Government employees were provided bonus. The state government also declared 'Chat Puja' as a restricted holiday in Uttarakhand during this time.
Diwali is a festive occasion to forget past regrets and move on happily in life. This year enjoy Diwali but with a difference. Pack your bags and move to one of these places so famous for Diwali celebrations!