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Diwali the festival of lights is just around the corner. Being one of the biggest festivals of India, people all over the country have already started preparing for Diwali. This year Diwali falls on October 30 and 31 and like every year is being awaited by people. Cleaning and decorating homes, preparing delicious sweets, buying new traditional clothes and exchanging wishes with loved ones are a part of the celebrations of Diwali in India. Legend has it that Diwali was celebrated to welcome Ram back to his home in Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and victory over the demon Ravana. According to beliefs, Ram was welcomed by the people of Ayodhya in a grand manner. People lit oil lamps outside their houses to express their happiness. Fast forward several centuries, today Diwali is celebrated with much pomp and joy where families re-unite to bring in the celebrations together. It is of great significance in India and most people celebrate it inside their homes because of the belief that Laxmi blesses the house that is clean and kept open. But if you are not one of those and are just waiting to make the most of Diwali long weekend, we have a suggestion for you. If you do not wish to be at home and still celebrate Diwali, the best you could do is get away to other parts of the country where Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm. So this coming long weekend, visit some of the best places to celebrate Diwali in India. Also Read - Sunny Kaushal Shares His Thoughts on Being Referred to as Vicky Kaushal's Brother
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To witness one of the most traditional ways of Diwali celebrations, you must be in Varanasi. Situated in Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is called as the spiritual capital of India. Even on regular days when there are no festivals, Varanasi sees a lot of devotees and Hindu pilgrims. And during Diwali, tourists flock in large numbers. Trust us when we say there cannot be a better place then Varanasi to celebrate the festival of lights. The city comes alive during this festival and is colorfully lit up. The vibrant colors, lights and the bustling streets make a perfect festive vibe that you must definitely experience. An evening by the famous Ganges is all it will take for you to feel peaceful and calm even amidst such huge crowds; such is the vibe of this religious city. People in Varanasi burst firecrackers all night long and the best view that you can witness here are the beautiful fireworks that you get to see over the beautiful Ganges. The Ganga Aarti that happens on the ghats that already look beautiful because of the lights is an experience that you must definitely have. If you truly want to be a part of these celebrations and not miss a bit of it, you must consider looking for an accommodation that is situated close to the river. Diwali here is also known as Dev Diwali that means the Diwali of Gods. Their belief is that during Diwali the Gods come to earth t take the holy bath in Ganges and the celebrations are a part of welcoming these Gods. The festivity goes on for 5 long days and the popularity of this festival has grown so much that the Dev Diwali is celebrated along with another famous festival called the Ganga Mahotsav. This has attracted lot more crowd than usual especially during Diwali. The recitals and the chants, the illuminated lights on the shores of Ganga that look even more beautiful at night are some of the sights that you will be treated to during Diwali in Varanasi. Meanwhile also do not forget to try out some of their sweets and delicious delicacies.
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Another great city where you can spend Diwali is Jaipur. We are pretty sure that you might have heard a lot about Diwali celebrations in the Pink city. Jaipur already being a city that is so rich in culture, Diwali just adds more zeal to it. If you want to know how grand Jaipur celebrates Diwali, you must be here to experience it. The Pink city during Diwali gets vibrant with colors and even the smallest lanes are colorfully lit up with glowing lights. Since most of you know that Diwali is also celebrated in dedication to Laxmi who is the Goddess of wealth, it is no wonder that a city like Jaipur that is a traders hub come alive during this colorful and happy festival. That makes this city a must visit during Diwali. People from all over the globe come to visit Jaipur only because the celebrations of this city are well renowned and much spoken about. The sky looks magical with fireworks and it truly a sight to behold. Local dress up in beautiful traditional outfits and each house and shop is decorated with diyas (earthen lamps) and kandils( lanterns that are hung outside windows). Some people even draw rangolis outside their homes to add more beauty. The fascinating part about Jaipur is that the best decorated markets are also awarded with unique prizes. So yes, there are fun filled competitions like these that make people even more enthusiastic to make Diwali better than the usual.
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Diwali celebrations in Delhi start right from the start of Dussehra. As a part of preparations, people start shopping for new clothes and go on a cleaning spree. Cleaning up houses to welcome Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth is a very common tradition followed during Diwali. It is said that if you clean you house and decorate it with lights; Laxmi will visit your house and bless with lots of wealth and health. Some people even go ahead to re paint their houses. The several shops and markets that adorn the streets of Delhi and the craze of shopping that comes with Delhi is something that you must experience. The streets bustling with people and the lanterns put up for sale, the whole place comes alive. Pre-Diwali is one of the best times to shop in Delhi that is also popularly known for its shopping streets. In fact the traders and merchants of Delhi believe that keeping shops open on the day of Diwali is auspicious since that gives them more sales. So you will see several shops opened until late afternoon. Distributing sweets is another very important part of Diwali celebrations in Delhi. Another interesting part about Diwali celebrations in Delhi are the many stages that you will see in several lanes and streets. These stages are set up to show case Ramlila that narrates the story of Ramayana. Laxmi puja is a tradition that you will see in almost every part of the country including Delhi. Also another unique tradition that many people in Delhi follow is that of immersing a silver coin in milk. This milk is then sprinkled all over the house, post which it is then kept in front of Laxmis idol all night. It is a treat to the eyes to watch people follow traditions with so much dedication and faith. Such is the beauty of festivals like Diwali. Plan a trip to Delhi to experience the vibrant and fun side of Diwali.
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Mumbai, one of the biggest Metropolitan cities may not be as traditional as cities like Varanasi or Jaipur. Even then, because it definitely is a melting pot of cultures, this city leaves no stone unturned to make sure that just like every other festival even Diwali is celebrated with much pomp and joy. Most celebrations that happen in Mumbai however are very privately held at homes and you wont see too much happening on the streets except for people bursting firecrackers. Corporate offices in Mumbai as a part of celebrations decorate their respective work places and people come all dressed up wearing beautiful traditional clothes. If you happen to visit days before Diwali, you will see that the streets of Mumbai are all lit up, some for decorative purposes, while others as part of Diwali sale. Among the many places of Mumbai, the Queens Necklace that is the Marine drive has one of the best displays of fireworks. The lit up sky over the vast ocean looks breathtaking and is a sight that you must definitely experience. Hundreds of people come out on the streets to witness this magical scene. Another such popular place in Mumbai that displays fireworks that are awe striking is Shivaji Park in Dadar. If you plan to be in Mumbai, either visit a friend of family to celebrate Diwali or just step out on the streets and like thousand other spectators, enjoy the magical view of colorful and beautiful fireworks.
Situated in the outskirts of Maharashtra is this quaint village called Purushwadi. It is located at a distance of 220 km away from Mumbai. Now are you wondering, what is this place doing in this list? You may be surprised, but the fact is that if you want to experience a very unique and traditional way of Diwali celebrations, Purushwadi is where you should be. However, these days this village has been gaining some attention and it has been seeing several tourists visiting to experience their way of Diwali. Apart from Diwali, this village is known for fireflies that sadly you wont get to see during Diwali. But the lights of Diwali are sure to delight you. However, during Diwali they have a fascinating way of celebrating. Locals together make a bonfire and the children go to each house of the village singing traditional songs. While the kids are busy visiting each house, the women of Purushwadi have other things to take care of like drawing rangoli outside their respective houses. They also cook meals over the bonfire which is a norm that can be seen probably only in this village. You know what we think is the best part about Diwali here? It is the fact that there is not too much crowd as you see in other cities. Away from the rest of the world, since this area hardly ever gets a mobile network, you can experience a true village and rustic life while you also make the most of this festive season. So you have two advantages here; one you do not have to miss out celebrating this beautiful festival and the second one is even while you are doing so, you wont be disturbed with too much noise, pollution or chaos. A quiet, simple and peaceful celebration is what Purushwadi is all about. Just drive down to this place and spend a night or two here. We are sure you will love this unique experience.
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