Diwali also known as the ‘festival of lights’ is one of the biggest festivals of the year in India. It is one of those festivals that is celebrated in every part of the country. This five-day festival commemorates the victory of good over evil and in particular honors the return of Lord Ram and his wife Sita to Ayodhya (after the defeat of demon Ravan and rescue of Sita from his evil clutches on Dussehra). Diwali is a time for families to come together in this celebration of life and the triumph of good over evil.
Diwali works as a great unifier as people from all the communities come together and light earthen lamps exchange sweets, gifts and enjoy the festivities. It's an occasion for prosperity and family togetherness. This year the festival of lights falls on November 14, 2020. Diwali celebration 2020 is going to be different due to the COVID-19 pandemic as we may not be able to celebrate it with our friends but that need not stop us from enjoying the festival. In this blog we have listed the best places to visit during this festival of lights. If you're wondering where to spend Diwali this year, check out these diverse destinations and ways to celebrate for a memorable time.
Varanasi - Dev Deepawali
One of the best places to celebrate Diwali in India is Varanasi. For the best experience start with a dip in the holy Ganges and exploring the bustling bazaars where you can get your hands on ethnic clothes as well as a countless variety of sweets. You can take a boat ride during the sunset time and watch the glimmering lamps against the backdrop of the religious recitals and chants by the river. Varanasi is a crazy place at any time of year but it becomes even more so during Diwali with a constant stream of firecrackers and fireworks going off all night long. Other highlights are the special Ganga Aarti, ghats illuminated with candles and diyas (earthen lamps) that are floated down the river. If you plan to spend some more in Varanasi then do attend the Dev Deepavali (Diwali of Gods) which is celebrated here as a part of the iconic Ganga Mahotsav Festival.
Amritsar - Bandi Chhor Divas
Another great place to visit during the auspicious occasion of Diwali is Amritsar. Diwali is the time when the Sikh community celebrates Bandi Chhor Divas. It is a colossal festival for Sikhs as it commemorates the return of Guru Hargobind Ji (6th Sikh Guru) from his imprisonment. There are special prayers or kirtans held throughout the city. Also, In 1577 the foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid on Diwali. The entire city along with the popular Golden temple looks stunning as well as illuminated. The temple complex is also draped in lights with countless oil lamps and candles. You can also explore the beautiful sarson (mustard) fields and amazing weather. Do not forget to dig into the scrumptious local cuisine that will drive you crazy. Dig into the scrumptious local cuisine that will have you licking your fingers in no time! Try some of the best sweets here that are made especially during Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.
Goa - Naraka Chaturdashi
Another famous city where Diwali is celebrated with utmost zeal is Goa. The Diwali celebrations commence from Naraka Chaturdashi. People start decorating their doors and windows with lanterns & lamps. Locals build several larger-than-life sized Narakasura effigies filled with firecrackers and grass and then burn them the next morning in the wee hours. Competitions are held in every village and city to see who can make the biggest and scariest effigy of the demon. This makes for a celebration worth beholding and you can also have a great time visiting the hottest beaches, casinos, swanky restaurants and lounges. The party capital of India looks completely different during the festival of Diwali.
Kolkata - Kali Puja
While the entire nation is busy celebrating Diwali the city of joy celebrates Kali Puja. Kali Puja is one of the most important festivals of Bengalis which coincides with Diwali. Goddess Kali is worshipped in Kolkata and you can witness the unique and detailed offerings to the Goddess including meat, fish, flowers and sweets. The city comes alive with Diyas, lamps, candles and fairy lights. It is this time when Kolkatans get over their post-Puja hangover and celebrate anew! People hop from one pandal to another to witness Kali Puja. Kolkata's Kali temples - Kalighat, Belur Math and Dakshineswar attracts a huge number of devotees. Magnificent decorated idols of fearsome Goddess Kali (the Dark Mother) are also put on display across the city for people to visit. Goddess Kali is worshiped for her ability to destroy the ego and illusions that go with it.
Udaipur & Jaipur - Splendid Folk Performance
Much of the beauty of Diwali comes from the warm glow of lights and lamps which adorn streets, homes and shops. One of the best places to witness the breathtaking celebrations is Jaipur & Udaipur. The celebrations in these cities start right from Dhanteras. Some of the popular landmarks in Jaipur offer amazing views of the lighting. Additionally the bazaars are brimming with musicians playing folk favourites and colourful lamps and other artefacts. Just like Las Vegas has a "Strip", Johari Bazaar has earned the title of "The Strip" in Jaipur during Diwali. Do not forget to indulge yourself in the Marwari cuisine and fill your bags with handicrafts & souvenirs in Jaipur.
During Diwali you will fall in love with the beautiful lakes of Udaipur that glow and shimmer with the reflections of fireworks and the lights of the palaces. In the week before Diwali, the walls of the town's buildings are whitewashed and repainted. The small holy town of Nathdwara, about 50 minutes drive north of Udaipur in Rajasthan is best known among pilgrims for its 17th century Krishna temple that houses an idol of Shreenathji. On this day the idol of Shreenathji is beautifully dressed. Celebrations continue the day after Diwali with a special Govardhan Puja (worship) to commemorate Lord Krishna’s victory over Indra the Rain God. Both these places offer regal celebrations of Diwali that just cannot be matched!
So, this Diwali take a vacation with your loved ones to any of these destinations and etch memories of a dazzling celebration which is different from what you have been seeing since years! Trainman wishes you all a very Happy Diwali!! For a hassle-free experience, book your train tickets now through the Trainman app. Download the Trainman App and check PNR Status of the booked ticket, Running Status, Train between stations and a lot more such features.