19 February 2024

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Diwali 2023: India’s Festival of Lights Celebration and Travel Tips

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most eagerly awaited and widely observed holidays among India’s Hindu community. It has great meaning as a reminder of the triumph of good over evil and as a representation of Lord Rama’s triumphant return to his kingdom of Ayodhya. This spectacular event takes place over three days of jubilant celebrations, with the streets decked out in dazzling lights and the skies lighted up by stunning fireworks displays.

The festival of lights is also marked by an increase in travel around the country as individuals take advantage of the time off to visit family or immerse themselves in the lively holiday traditions practised in various parts of the nation.

India travel for Diwali 2023

The lunar calendar determines when Diwali is celebrated each year. Diwali will be observed in 2023 from November 10 until November 14. The celebrations will begin with Dhanteras on November 10 and keep going with Chhoti Diwali on November 12, the main Diwali celebrations on November 12, and Bhai Dooj on November 14.

People thoroughly clean their homes in preparation for Diwali and go shopping for new clothes, electronics, and utensils. The first day of the festival, Dhanteras, is seen as lucky for purchasing unique utensils and decorations. “Chhoti Diwali,” the second day, is dedicated to gift-exchanging and celebration preparation.

On the main Diwali day, celebrations include dressing up in luxurious clothing, making prayers to Lord Ganesh and Goddess Laxmi for wealth and protection, sparking fireworks, and participating in singing, dancing, and card games.

When is the best time to travel for Diwali?

Most Indian states recognise Diwali as a legal holiday. Even though the holiday is held across five days, the most important celebrations—Dhanteras, Chhoti Diwali, and Diwali—take place on the first three days. Rituals, crowded Diwali marketplaces, and the tempting glow of festive lights bring these days to life. Additionally, Diwali is a time when Indians visit their loved ones in their hometowns. This is the ideal time to schedule your visit if you want to see Diwali in all its glory.

On November 10, 2023, Dhanteras marks the start of the Diwali celebrations for that year. Prices may increase because of a major increase in travel that occurs the week before this auspicious anniversary. It is advised to plan your vacation well in advance and make your reservations as soon as possible to ensure a flawless and affordable travel experience and a very special Diwali celebration.

India’s top destinations for tourism during Diwali

No matter where you decide to visit over the holiday season, the fervour of Diwali permeates the whole country of India, providing a thrilling celebration. However, certain cities stand out for hosting remarkable Diwali celebrations, which identifies them as desirable vacation spots. The following cities have vibrant and hospitable Diwali celebrations:

Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh

As the birthplace of Lord Rama and the region where he returned with his wife, Sita, the festival of Diwali originated, Ayodhya may be seen as the centre of Diwali celebrations throughout India. India-wide people gather here to light diyas along the Sarayu River’s banks. With more than 3 lakh diyas lighted simultaneously, the city holds the Guinness World Record for this event! The streets of Ayodhya are magnificently decorated with handmade decorations, lights, and papers of colourful designs.

Jaipur, Rajasthan

The Pink City of India, Jaipur, which is located in the state of Rajasthan, is without a doubt one of the greatest destinations to visit around Diwali. It’s breathtaking to see the glittery decorations on MI Road, Nehru Bazaar, Johari Bazaar, Tripolia Bazaar, Statue Circle, and other locations!

A wonder that lures throngs of tourists to the city, Jaipur is famed for its spectacular views of the lit metropolis from Nahargarh Fort. Additionally, Jaipur offers the most delicious sweets at this time of year for anyone with a sweet taste! A must-try are iconic desserts like the Ghewar, Malpua, and Mawa Kachori, which perfectly encapsulate Jaipur’s rich culinary history.

Kolkata, West Bengal

Kolkata, often known as the “City of Joy,” is a city rich in culture and is known for its extravagant festival celebrations. Since Goddess Kali, a variation of Devi Durga, is honoured in Kolkata during Diwali, the Bengali population celebrates the holiday as Kali Puja and decorates the streets with decorated pandals, or shrines, in her honour. People like visiting several pandals to observe the skilled craftsmanship and to sample some of Kolkata’s well-known street snacks, including as kathi rolls and phuchkas.

Amritsar, Punjab

Diwali is known as Bandi Chhor Divas among the Sikh community of Amritsar. When filled up for Diwali with candles, diyas, and golden lights, the already gorgeous Golden Temple sparkles even more. You might not find a more unique experience in India than seeing the amazing festival here in Amritsar!

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

In India’s renowned pilgrimage city of Varanasi, a grand Diwali festival is held that attracts throngs of people from all over the world. Your day might start with a holy dip in the Ganges, followed by an immersion in the colourful Diwali celebrations. The post-Diwali celebrations in Varanasi are also extended by Dev Deepavali, which is commemorated on the full moon night, and the cultural extravaganza of Ganga Mahotsav, which happens two weeks later.

Don’t forget to attend the fascinating Ganga Aarti, which is held on the banks of the Ganges, also referred to as ghats in the local language.

New Delhi

During Diwali, the capital city comes to life as Diwali markets and fairs are held all over the place. These crowded markets sell a variety of goods, including traditional clothing, gold jewellery, diyas, and religious items as well as fireworks. The largest of them is Dilli Haat, which is well known for its exuberant Diwali carnivals.

Diwali travel advice

To make the most of your holidays and make them genuinely unforgettable, keep the following advice in mind as you plan your Diwali travels:

Prepare in advance

Bookings for travel increase significantly during the Diwali season. In order to avoid the price increase that is expected to occur in the weeks leading up to Diwali, it is wise to plan and make bookings well in advance. In addition, making reservations in advance will provide you access to the best flights, trains, and hotels, the majority of which will fill up quickly during the holiday season.

Pick your destination wisely.

If you’re thinking of taking a trip this Diwali, be sure to do your research. For instance, you might travel to cities like Jaipur, Kolkata, and Delhi if you wanted to experience the frantic and thrilling atmosphere of Diwali in India. These aren’t the best options for you, though, if you’re looking for a tranquil break because they’ll probably be busy and hectic.

Enjoy the Diwali markets.

Markets are one location where you may experience the excitement and joyful chaos of Diwali. You may browse these marketplaces for diyas, showpieces, traditional and contemporary clothing, ornamental objects, and much more. Use the traditional Indian method of haggling to get the best deal!

Witness the rituals and fireworks

Diwali is cheerfully observed on the evening of the festival, with streets illuminated, people dressed in festive outfit, and the sky lit up by fireworks. Before enjoying a firework show, you may participate in pujas and make your gifts to Lord Ganesh and Goddess Laxmi. If you are sensitive, make careful to take the appropriate safety measures since Diwali in India may be an unpleasant experience.

Enjoy the cuisine.

During the Diwali season, delicious Indian sweets like gujiya, malpua, barfi, and kheer are sold all throughout the nation. You won’t be let down if you give them a try if you ever find yourself near a sweet store.

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