The best way to understand a specific culture is to take part in its festivals. With its radiant presence celebrated on a global scale, Diwali magnificently embodies the essence of India’s rich cultural tapestry. Often referred to as the Festival of Lights, it signifies the triumphant prevalence of goodness over malevolence. As one of the most significant events in the country, the festival is great for travelers who are seeking cultural enrichment. Jaya Travel & Tours has meticulously compiled a list of prime locations where the splendor of Diwali festivities can be witnessed firsthand.
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Where To Celebrate Diwali In India
Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram and symbolizes his return with his wife, Sita, and brother, Laxman, following a 14-year exile. A grand celebration of the victory of good over evil, the city becomes alive with colored papers, lights, and other handcrafted ornaments. People come from every corner of India to celebrate by burning lanterns on the banks of the Sarayu River. In 2022, the Guinness World Record was even set for the ‘largest display of oil lamps’ by lighting countless diyas. Additionally, attending the Ram Lila performances and religious processions can provide deep insights into the epic story of Lord Ram and the significance of Diwali.
Varanasi, sometimes referred to as Banaras, ranks among the holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites globally. Diwali is celebrated with a lot of fireworks and firecrackers in this region, making it a must-visit destination. The sight of footpaths and roads illuminated by a beautiful line of diyas and candles makes it a beautiful view to behold.
Every evening, the special Ganga Aarti ritual involves the worship of the sacred River Ganges through a fusion of dance, fire, and melodic hymns. This ceremony exemplifies the spiritual essence of Varanasi, intertwining the devotion of the people with the timeless flow of the Ganges.
Diwali in Udaipur is not just about the visual spectacle; it’s a cultural extravaganza. The city awakens with traditional music, graceful dance performances, and spirited local festivities that showcase the opulent Rajasthani culture and heritage. The night sky is lit by the ethereal glow of floating lamps and the brilliance of fireworks that cast their shimmering reflections upon Lake Pichola.
Amidst this enchanting ambiance is the Udaipur Light Festival. This festival unites performers from across the nation, setting the stage ablaze with their artistic talents. Amidst illuminated food booths and interactive activities featuring paper lanterns, the festival becomes a haven of creativity and community spirit.
How To Celebrate Diwali
Rangoli is a type of Indian art in which designs are drawn on a flat surface using items like red ochre, flower petals, colored rocks or sand, dry rice flour, and powdered limestone. Small flowers, geometric shapes, and even portraits have made their way into this creative tradition. The rangoli is made to welcome Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and luck, and it symbolizes the joy, optimism, and vibrancy of a home.
Light Diyas and Lamps
During the Festival of Lights, special oil lamps called diyas are used to light up homes. This is only one of the many light-based Diwali customs. On the new moon night of the third day of Diwali, people light these vibrantly pained lamps around their houses as a method to ward off evil.
Attend Ganesh-Laxmi Puja
Households and societies perform Laxmi puja to welcome prosperity, and prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha to signify an auspicious beginning. It begins with singing Vedic mantras, hymns, and prayers. Then, the idol is given a panchamrita bath (a concoction of milk, curd, ghee, or clarified butter, honey, and sugar), followed by a bath in water that contains a pearl or a gold adornment. After being cleansed, her idol is reinstalled and a unique lamp is lit in front of the goddess Lakshmi.
In India, sweets are a symbol of happiness and joy, but most importantly they are a sign of love for other people. The simple act of giving out, creating, or eating sweets during Diwali is a celebration. Feast on the Indian version of fudge called Mohanthal or gobble down as many gulab jamuns and experience the festival of Diwali like a true local.
Ready to Celebrate Diwali in India?
Overall, Diwali encapsulates deep spiritual, cultural, and social meanings, making it a significant and cherished festival in India that resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds. It’s not just about external celebrations; it’s also an opportunity for introspection, personal growth, and connecting with loved ones.
After choosing where in India to celebrate, contact Jaya Travel to curate the perfect vacation just in time to witness the Festival of Lights. For more information on must-see festivals around the world, read our travel blog!