Diwali, or Deepawali, the festival of lights, is celebrated with fervor throughout India. Places are decked with lights and there is a feeling of festivity everywhere. However some places stand out for the gusto and enthusiasm with which Diwali is celebrated, representative of almost a spiritual, street festival. Here are the top three places that can make your Diwali an experience to remember.
Varanasi, the eternal city on the banks of the Ganges, has its own unique way of celebrating Diwali. As the sky grows dark, thousands of lit diyas are set afloat in the mighty river by throngs of devotees staying true to a timeless tradition.
The diyas float out, illuminating the entire span of the river, making the sight truly memorable to behold. It feels like a thousand stars have descended on the ground for that night. The continuous fireworks and the special Ganga Arati only add to the brilliance and the beauty of the night.
Jaipur, the Pink City, is host to a special Diwali shopping festival. The Jaipur Shopping Festival has participation from the different markets in the city, who combine to organize events like cultural shows, performances and golf and polo matches to attract visitors. On Diwali, the third and main night of the five day festivities, markets are decked up in lights and stay open till late to allow shoppers the opportunity to take their pick. The place is a must visit during the diwali holiday season.
Diwali in Amritsar can be summed up by a simple Punjabi adage: Dal roti ghar di, Diwali Amritsar di (home cooked food and Amritsar’s Diwali are without parallel). The auspicious occasion, also celebrated as BandiChhor Divas, marking the return of the Sixth Sikh Guru, Guru HargobindJi from Mughal imprisonment, sees the night sky lit up with giant firecrackers.
The focal Golden Temple, the spiritual heart of Sikhism is lit up like a new bride, decked in streams of light that turn the darkness of the night into day. The adjacent sarovar is illuminated by thousands of floating diyas, which add to the overall mystic ambience of the shrine, with the melody of kirtans in the background. Soak in the lights and take in the local cuisine for a truly memorable Diwali.
So, where are you going this Diwali?