Oct 20, 2017
In a land noted for its festivals marking every month and season, Deepavali or Diwali is undoubtedly the most important and popular Hindu celebration across India.
Although the festival of lights, as Deepavali or Diwali is also known, has differing significance in various parts of the country, it is fundamentally about the triumph of good over evil.
While north Indians celebrate Diwali as the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom of Ayodhya after several years in exile, southerners (especially in the state of Tamil Nadu) believe that Deepavali – as it is known in this region – commemorates the death of evil demon Narakasura at the hands of Lord Krishna. Interestingly, in West Bengal and Gujarat (on the eastern and western corners of the country), Lakshmi is worshipped on the festival day, to honour her status as the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Whatever the underlying legend, the festival is celebrated across India with the lighting of lamps and setting off of firecrackers to convey the joy of driving away darkness. And as with other prominent festivals, new clothes, an array of sweets and lavish feasts play important roles.
Here is our list of five best places in India for Deepavali or Diwali celebrations.
Arriving just a couple of weeks after the massive Durga Puja festivities – the most significant festival of this region that reveres the goddess Durga – Deepavali here is again a celebration of the mother goddess in her fearsome form as Kali. At the famous Kali temples of Kolkata, including Kalighat and Dakshineshwar, statues of the goddess are decorated and venerated with offerings of sweets, flowers and rice. Elaborate community pandals (prayer stalls) are set up across the city for locals and visitors to pay their respects to the statues specially created for the festival.
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