Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India, whose exuberant celebrations largely characterized by the sparkles of lights and fireworks earned it the endearing sobriquet — The Festival of Lights! Celebrated on Amavasya, the 15th day in the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika, Diwali 2020 falls on 14th November. The appealing sight of diyas (earthen lamps) illuminating every home, temple, residential and commercial building creates an illusion of Stars on the Earth — yes, it appears as if the twinkle of countless stars in the sky duplicates itself on the Earth in the form of a sea of glowing diyas. Here are the five best places to celebrate Diwali in India that shed light on the deep-rooted Indian ideology of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. But before that, let’s understand the significance of Diwali.
Diwali stands for the ultimate victory of good over evil and the supremacy of wisdom over ignorance. This is symbolically represented by the lighting of diyas — the spiritual spark that expels the darkness of ignorance. People rejoice by celebrating the festival together as one big family — they offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi, decorate their homes, share mithai (sweets) and gifts, and burn firecrackers. It is said that Lord Rama along with wife Sita and brother Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile on this auspicious day. Fly to India and join the Diwali celebrations at these below cities.
Diwali celebrations in the Spiritual Capital of India are the grandest! People follow the age-old tradition of taking the Ganga snan and participating in the aarti rituals, post which they float colorful diyas on the river and burn firecrackers throughout the night. Varanasi’s spiritual aura combined with the beauty of sparkles on land, water, and across the sky persuades you to stay back in the city for the Dev Diwali celebrations, held on Kartik Poornima (15 days after Diwali). With all the ghats along Varanasi’s holy banks brightly illuminated by thousands of diyas and procession of Hindu deities, Dev Diwali is even more spectacular!
Goa celebrates the victory of good over evil by setting ablaze the paper mâché effigies of Narakasura. The day when Lord Krishna and Satyabhama killed the demon Narakasura (to save people from his atrocities) is celebrated as Diwali here. Book flights to Goa, one of the best places to celebrate Diwali in India! Gambling emerged as a popular activity during Diwali in Goa, and many top casinos lure customers with festival deals. If you are interested, try your luck at gambling!
The highlight of Diwali celebrations in Jaipur is its dazzling markets and cultural shows. Every year on Diwali, the government organizes a competition and rewards the most brilliantly decorated market in Jaipur. Every corner of the city comes alive with Diwali celebrations that begin on Dhanteras (the first day of Diwali) and continue for 5 days. The views of Jaipur’s glittering skyline from Nahargarh Fort and the sparks of fireworks against the moonless sky serve up a feast for the eyes! As you stand there watching the endless glow of the city, you’ll fully appreciate the simple pleasures of life!
Amritsar’s Golden Temple is another extraordinary place to celebrate Diwali in India. The temple complex — beautifully lit up by strings of fairy lights — dons its best look on Diwali as this day coincides with the Bandi Chhor Divas, the liberation day of their sixth guru from prison. Sri Harmandir Sahib teems with visitors who gather for the spectacular night of celebration — they offer special prayers and light many diyas/ candles along the edge of the pond. The whole complex turns into an ethereal landscape, and witnessing the scintillating fireworks display is a magical feeling!
The royal city of Udaipur, known for its elegant palaces, beautiful lakes and mountains, attracts a lot of tourists during Diwali. The city’s palaces and historical landmarks will be exuberantly decorated to welcome Diwali. Of all the places to celebrate Diwali in India, the City of Lakes stands out with its magnificent Udaipur Light Festival — an eco-friendly way of celebrating ‘The festival of Lights’. The revelers enjoy musical performances, food fests, and a plethora of fun activities. They light the lanterns and release them towards the sky, and the eye-popping view of hundreds of golden lanterns floating in the air reminds you of the lantern scene from the animated movie Tangled!