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Top 5 Diwali destinations in India

Five quiet places to chill out this summer  
Top 5 Diwali destinations in India: : Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most popular festivals in India. The festival, which is a global fiesta of lights and sounds, ties people of all the religions, castes and communities together. In this issue of Vacationer, HolidayIQ member Ayan from Kolkata takes you to the popular places in India, where this festival is celebrated with grandeur and inimitable style.

Diwali in India is celebrated over a period of five days to honour the “triumph of good over evil.” It also marks the arrival of the Hindu New Year. The five days constituting Diwali are Dhanteras, Chhoti Diwali, Badi Diwali, Goverdhan Puja and Bhaiya Dooj. In Bihar, the celebration continues to the sixth day in the form of Chhat Puja.

If you plan to go for a travel trip during Diwali then you must remember one important point. The quintessence of Diwali can be experienced only if you participate in the carnival with the local people. The celebration of Diwali, however, is more prominent in the Northern parts of India. According to me, the top five Diwali destinations in India are Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur, Kolkata, and Amritsar.


Delhi, National Capital Territory of Delhi: Diwali in Delhi starts from Dussehra itself. Visit any market place and you will find banners and placards everywhere. The major commercial centres of Delhi get packed with shoppers and shopping offers. People start to splurge on new dresses, gifts, fruits, sweets and firecrackers for the preparation of Dhanteras and the Diwali. On the day of Diwali, you will come across several temporary stages hosting the “Ramlila”, a dramatic depiction of the life of Lord Ram, culminating with the 10-days battle between Ram and Ravan (described in epic Ramayana).

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Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh: A remarkable place to celebrate Diwali is Uttar Pradesh. The state wears a colourful look throughout the festival of lights. If you have to choose one place in UP, then pick Varanasi - "the holy city of India." On Diwali evening, the 50 odd Ghats of Varanasi are illuminated with thousands of diyas (i.e. earthen lamps) transforming the proverbial “city of lights” into mesmerizing reality.

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Jaipur, Rajasthan: One of the cherished moments of your life will be to have a slice of Pink City’s version of Diwali. The city, a popular tourist destination for the westerners, is decorated in all the available colours found in a dreamer’s palette. If you explore the highly embellished markets, you will find at least 2000 different varieties of earthen lamps in the form of deities, birds, and animals. Handicrafts, firecrackers, gift items, and local traditional clothes also flood the marts during Diwali. Each year, notably, a contest is held to award the best-decorated market.

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Kolkata, West Bengal: “Shyama Puja” or “Kali Puja” is Kolkata’s answer to Diwali. The date of the puja coincides with Diwali. According to the Hindu mythology, “Kali” is treated as the “Shakti” (i.e. the goddess of Power). During the puja, which generally takes place at midnight, people try to appease the goddess with live offering of lamb or buffalo. The “prasad” (i.e. food offered to the deity) is then shared among the devotees. A day prior to the puja, little candles, diyas, and small-decorated electric bulbs, light up the “city of joy.” On the day of the puja, firecrackers cover the sky displaying a fascinating array of fireworks.

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Amritsar, Punjab: The Golden Temple of Amritsar is draped with brightly lit diyas on the Diwali evening making it an extravagant spectacle for the onlookers. The reflection of the diyas on the water creates a truly magical environment. The planning of the festival starts, however, weeks in advance. Each house is decorated with leaves, flowers and other pretty items with rangolis (i.e. a popular art form done with powder and colours) featuring on the entrance. All the locals prepare various sweets and dishes to share them with friends, relatives, neighbours and community. The Diwali night sees spectacular fireworks lighting up the night sky.

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  Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu: 70 km south of Madurai in Virudhunagar district, you will come across this bustling industrial town, nicknamed as “Kutty Japan” (i.e. meaning “Little Japan” in Tamil.) This lively little industrial town is known to provide the logistics support to the fireworks that take place all over the country! About 90% of India's fireworks solutions, which are mainly showcased on Diwali, come from the factories of Sivakasi.

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