Diwali is a grand affair in India. While the festival will be celebrated on Monday, October 24th this year, festivities will continue until Bhai Dooj on October 26th.
Have you considered celebrating Diwali differently this year by using the 5 days of vacation (from Choti Diwali to Bhai Dooj) to head off on a holiday? How about considering a destination that celebrates Diwali in all its glory!
Here is a list of a few destinations which are ideal to visit this long festive weekend.
Set on the banks of the Sarayu river, Ayodhya is the land of tranquility and purity.
It is a historical city that is lined with numerous temples, ghats, and beautiful architectural marvels, making it a must-visit destination at any time of the year.
Some top recommendations when in Ayodhya are The Ram Janmabhoomi temple, The Hanuman Garhi Temple, the Kanak Bhawan temple, The Temple of Nageshwarnath, The Treta Ke Thakur Temple, and The Madhuri Kunja Mandir.
As the birthplace of Lord Rama, Ayodhya is considered among the seven holiest cities in India. Witness the most enchanting Diwali celebrations that draw devotees from all across the country.
Ayodhya celebrates Diwali for four days, which begins with women lighting diyas in the river. The whole city is decorated with colourful lights and other decorative items. People around the globe visit this destination every year to witness Diwali in all its glory.
Experience the festival of lights on a grand scale in Varanasi. Explore the bustling bazaars where you can find everything, from traditional sweets to exquisite clothes. Or take a sunset boat ride to watch the glimmering lamps against the backdrop of religious recitals and chants by the river, culminating in a superb display of firecrackers.
Varanasi allows you to participate in the Diwali of Gods or Dev Deepavali. The ceremony starts with the offering of lit earthen lamps, known as deep daan. This is performed by 21 brahmins and 41 young girls while chanting the Vedic mantra in the background. Several households organize Akhand Ramayan where the chanting of the holy scriptures of Ramayana takes place, followed by a Bhoj where food is served to all.
The Mahotsav is also celebrated as a token of gratitude by the people towards the river. When in Varanasi for Diwali, be sure to also experience music and dance performances held on the banks of the river Ganges.
The enthusiasm with which people of Rajasthan celebrate Diwali is truly unique. Even the smallest town in Rajasthan celebrates it with an enthusiasm unparalleled. Larger cities like Jodhpur, Jaipur, and Udaipur give a whole new definition to the words festival and celebration during this period.
The breathtaking celebrations in Rajasthan kick off right from Dhanteras. Experience fireworks at Nahargarh Fort that are a feast for the eyes. Not only will you witness the magnificent fireworks but also listen to mesmerizing musicians playing folk favourites.
Don’t miss the opportunity to dive into the finest Marwari cuisine and shop for attractive souvenirs and handicrafts in Jaipur. When in Udaipur you will most certainly fall in love with the beautiful lakes that glow and shimmer with under the reflections of the fireworks.
Gujarat is also fairly extravagant in its celebrations. The ambience in the state during this time is purely magical/ Trading and business families worship ledgers in which they keep records of their businesses for the entire year, the ritual is known as Choda Pujan. The ritual is also a symbol of clean and holy financial transactions.
A lavish celebration of Diwali takes place in the state. On all four days, rangoli is laid out, and houses are decked with diyas. For Gujaratis, giving gold as a gift is a part of tradition. Delicious foods like Samosas and Aloo Tikki are prepared and served in homes.
The fervour with which Diwali is celebrated in Amritsar is second to none. The Golden Temple gets illuminated with golden lights that reflect in the water, thus creating an atmosphere that is a must to experience. Plan a visit to Amritsar for its holy and illuminating atmosphere and find yourself surrounded by the shared feeling of fraternity and love all around. Diwali is all about celebrating the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil after all, and there is no better destination that resonates these sentiments.
So plan on taking a vacation with your loved ones this long Diwali weekend to any of these destinations and create memorable and once-in-a-lifetime memories.