Diwali is an auspicious Indian festival that is celebrated on the 15th day of Karthik month as per the Hindu calendar. Primarily a Hindu festival, Diwali is now a common festival for all communities. The culmination of Navaratri celebrations in different states of India paves the way for Diwali festivities. This ‘festival of light’ is marked by beaming diyas, bright coloured new clothes, and homes filled with the sweet fragrance of desserts. It is a festival which brings families closer and strengthens the familial bond.
How is Diwali Festival Celebrated in India?
Urban India celebrates Diwali with card game parties, gorging on a delicious spread of sweets and savouries and bursting fire-crackers. Traditionally, Diwali festival is celebrated to rejoice the homecoming of Lord Rama, Laxmana and Sita after spending 14 years in the forest in exile. Diwali, which literally translates to a row of lights, was first celebrated in Ayodhya where people lighted diyas to welcome the Lord. And since then, this festival is celebrated each year with pomp and grandeur all across. So if you are planning a trip to any part of India to get a first-hand experience of these, here is a list of the interesting ways by which India celebrates Diwali.
11 Amazing States in India to Experience Diwali Festival
Uttar Pradesh is one of the best cities to experience Diwali. Considered the birthplace of Lord Ram, Ayodhya is the centre of most of the festivities that occur during Diwali. Diwali is traditionally celebrated for five long days here. The first day is Dhanteras where people celebrate this day by buying gold or silver or new utensils as it is considered auspicious and lucky. The second day is Narak Chaturdasi or Choti Diwali where create diya decoration, burst crackers and prepare a wide variety of sweets and savoury. The third day is the main Diwali festival, the fourth day is Govardhan Puja and the last day is Bhai Dooj and on this day, sisters put tika and pray for their brothers’ long lives.
In Varanasi, Diwali is an elaborate affair with a special Ganga Arti. The Ganga Ghat is beautifully lit up with diyas and people from all across the world visit Varanasi to experience this mesmerizing sight.
You can also read more about 15 best things to do in Varanasi to understand its history.
No list of best cities to celebrate Diwali festival is complete without the mention of Delhi. The mythical city of Indraprastha was considered to be situated in modern-day Delhi.
Usually, Diwali night is marked by fireworks and diya decoration, lighting candles and creating beautiful rangoli. Later, families gather to worship the idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. The streets are decorated with fairy lights and people set up stalls where you can sample the best street food in Delhi.
People from Ahmedabad are known for their colourful festivals and amazing food. During Diwali, Gujarat is at its best as the 5-day-long celebration kicks in with people buying new clothes and decorating their homes.
People decorate their homes with beautiful rangolis. On the first day, Narakachaturdashi, people smash vegetables and burst crackers to depict the episode of destroying evil Narakasur. The succeeding days are marked by Ganesh and Laxmi puja. On the last day, Bhau Beej is celebrated to strengthen the bond between brothers and sisters. Book Treebo hotels in Ahmedabad and stay here to experience the best Diwali in India.
You may also like to read about the top things Ahmedabad is famous for.
Diwali is celebrated in traditional colours by the people from Mumbai. Tourists from across the country visit Mumbai during Diwali and be a part of the festivities. Like Ganesh Chaturthi festival, Diwali is also celebrated in full grandeur and splendour. It is celebrated for 5 days and consists of various rituals like worshipping Goddess Laxmi, Lord Ganesha and the sacred cow.
The best part of Diwali celebrations in Mumbai is the food they prepare. They start with the famous sweet Faral and then prepare snacks like Chakali, Laddu, Karanji, Chiwada and other festive foods. This is the time when traders open their new accounts since it marks the beginning of Hindu financial year. Friends and family visit each other during Diwali and exchange pleasantries and best wishes. If you plan ahead, you can book the best hotels in Mumbai and have an exciting stay to enjoy Diwali celebration.
Karnataka celebrates Deepavali on the new moon day. It is a 5-day-long celebration, the third and fourth day being the most important one. The first day is Dhanteras where people clean their houses, decorate them and worship a pot filled with water. The second day is Naraka Chaturdasi or the day when Narakasura was slain by Lord Krishna. It is celebrated to embody the Satyabhama’s victory over Narakasura. The third day is Ashvija Krishna Amavasya and Kannadigas celebrate this day with Laxmi puja, diya decoration and fireworks.
The fourth day is observed as theThali Deepavali and Balipadyami Deepavali and the last day is Bhratridyitiya where sisters pray for the health and happiness of their brothers. People exchange sweets and good wishes to mark the beginning of a good year ahead. Holige and Chakkuli are prepared in all households.
You can also read about 13 amazing places to visit in Karnataka.
In Kolkata, Diwali celebrations are observed differently since Kali Puja coincides with this festival. It is the second largest festival in this city after mahalaya Durga Puja. People worship Goddess Kali and light candles to honour the departed soul of their ancestors. Hundreds of pandals are erected with Goddess Kali’s idol and prayers are offered all through the night.
Later people celebrate the occasion by bursting crackers and greeting friends and family.
The three-day festivities conclude with ‘Bhai phota’, which is celebrated by sisters praying for the good health of their brothers.
You may also read about 25 incredible things Kolkata is famous for.
Jaipur Diwali has an interesting story behind its celebrations. Although the festival marks the homecoming of Lord Rama from exile, the main reason why Diwali festival in Jaipur is famous because the royal family of this city consider themselves to be the descendants Kusha, the son of Lord Rama. Therefore, this festival is celebrated with great vigour and fervour in Jaipur. All the forts near Jaipur are decked up in beautiful lights that shimmer and sparkle during the night.
Numerous paintings from Ramayana depicting the slaying of Ravana by Lord Rama can also be seen on the walls of famous tourist spots in Jaipur. Diwali celebration in Jaipur is a five-day fanfare where people celebrate the festival by preparing and distributing a wide variety of sweets, diya decoration and conducting elaborate puja and bursting crackers.
Diwali in Goa is a sight to behold since the city gets all decked up in colourful lights and lamps to rejoice the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura. The slaying of this demon and freeing the citizens from the tortures of this Asura is celebrated in Goa as Diwali and people prepare a wide variety of sweets, offer prayers to God and visit friends and family during this occasion.
Another very famous thing in Goa is the reincarnations of Narakasura that one can spot in every crossroad or near a temple. People create huge effigies of the Narakasura in a creative manner and sing and play contemporary Goan music. They also re-enact scenes from the epics to depict the killing of this demon by the Lord.
You can also read more about the best ways to enjoy a 3-day trip in Goa.
Pushkar Diwali marks the beginning of the Camel Festival as well, which is very famous in this holy city dotted with a number of temples. Devotees from across the world flock Pushkar to witness both Diwali celebrations and the Camel Festival. People decorate their homes and streets with diyas and colourful lights and the Pushkar Lake shimmers in the golden light of hundred of diyas lit around it. The sweet shops are stocked with a wide variety of sweets other delicacies that people buy and share with their families and friends.
In Pushkar, Camel Festival begins with cattle trading that takes place during the first 3 days followed by folk dance, music, common shows and camel fairs during the last two days.
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Diwali in Sikkim is celebrated as “Tihar” or the festival of lights where the entire state is decorated in the scintillating light id the diyas and colourful lights adorning houses and streets. This symbolises the removal of the veil of darkness with light from homes and also from the minds of the people. Some of the most important aspects of Tihar include worshipping animals, offering prayers to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha and singing traditional Deusi and Bhailo, the folk songs of this state.
Tihar festival is celebrated for 5 long days as Kaag Tihar (worshipping of crows), Kukkar Tihar (worshipping of dogs), Gai Tihar (worshipping the cows), Govardhan Puja and Bhai Tika (sisters praying for the health and happiness of their brothers). On the third day, which is the actual day of Diwali, people light lamps and sing Dheusi and Bhailo.
You may also like to read more about the best places to visit in Sikkim for a relaxing vacay!
Diwali celebration in Amritsar coincides with Bandi Chhor Divas which is observed to rejoice the homecoming of the sixth Guru of the Sikh community, Guru Hargobind. Sikh history marks this day as the day when Guru Hargobind was released along with 52 other Hindu kings who were all imprisoned by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Sikh people celebrate this day like Diwali festival by lighting lamps and diyas in their homes and in the Gurudwaras. They exchange gifts and also prepare a wide variety of sweets and distribute among friends and family. The Gurudwaras are decorated with colourful lights that glimmer in the night and the whole city comes alive in vibrant shades to enjoy this festival. Sikhs from across the world visit Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple and to enjoy a variety of mouth-watering street food in Amritsar that they love.
Here is our list of the best places to celebrate Diwali across India. If you think we’ve missed out any interesting tradition, let us know in the comments below. Have a happy and safe Diwali!