Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the biggest celebrations in India. During this auspicious time, people decorate their homes with lights and rangolis, wear new clothes, prepare sweets and feast on delicious food. It’s also a time for families and friends to come together. While Diwali is celebrated across India, some destinations have unique ways of ring in the festival that make them worth visiting. If you’re looking for places to travel in India during Diwali, here are 10 destinations to consider:
Nestled in the Himalayan foothills, Shimla is an idyllic hill station that comes alive during Diwali. The hill town is draped in glittering lights and candles. Head to the Mall road to see buildings illuminated in festive colours. Visit local bazaars bursting with traditional wares and sweets. Don’t miss a heritage walk to see colonial buildings decked up for the festival. Enjoy the nip in the air as you take in the magical lights of Shimla on Diwali.
The spiritual capital of India is a sight to behold during the festival of lights. Varanasi celebrates Diwali with great fervour. Take a boat ride on the Ganga river to see the ghats lit up with aartis and diyas. It’s an ethereal experience. You can also explore the vibrant bazaars brimming with decorative items and sweet shops dishing out local delights. Don’t forget to make a wish as you light a diya at the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The Venice of the East looks likes a dream during Diwali. Udaipur is decked up in lights and colours as grand processions and cultural events mark the festival. Pay a visit to City Palace, Jag Mandir or Lake Pichola after sunset to see them glow in lights. Witness the fireworks as they light up the sky and reflect in the lake waters. Enjoy a festive cruise or take part in the feasts and festivities across this romantic city.
Diwali in Kolkata is an extravagant affair. The whole city is lit up with oil lamps and fairy lights. People dress up in traditional silks and finery. Pandal hopping to see the magnificent pandals is a must during this time. Take a stroll down the streets to see illuminated stalls selling clay diyas, candles, sweets and handicrafts. Don’t forget to dig into delicious Bengali sweets and snacks when visiting the City of Joy on Diwali.
Mumbai knows how to celebrate festivals in style. During Diwali, the maximum city is buzzing with festive fervour. Shopping at Crawford market and Linking road, gorging on sweets and snacks, visiting friends and taking part in card parties are popular activities. Marine Drive offers a splendid view of the sea lined up with diyas and lights. Watching the fireworks over the Queen’s Necklace is an experience not to miss.
The pink city decks up in its finest jewels and clothes during Diwali. Jaipur looks resplendent with lights and vibrant decorations. Take a stroll down the old bazaars to see traditional handicraft items and try Rajasthani foods and sweets. Visit the Amber Fort or Hawa Mahal after sunset to see the monuments illuminated in dazzling lights. Don’t miss catching a glimpse of grand fireworks that light up the Jaipur sky.
While Diwali is not native to Kerala, pockets of the state celebrate it with gusto. Experience a tropical Diwali celebration amid Kerala’s backwaters and beaches. The Cochin Carnival coincides with the festival, adding zeal and zest. Watch cultural shows, take a boat ride to see riverside illuminations or visit churches and temples decked up in lights. Tuck into Sadya feast and other delicacies prepared specially for the occasion.
The well-planned city of Chandigarh has its own unique way of celebrating Diwali. People adorn their homes with quirky decorations using waste materials. Competitions are held for the most innovative and eco-friendly decor. Head to Sector 17 market to see magnificent lighting arrangements and engage in shopping. Don’t miss the vibrant Diwali mela at the Rose Garden. Catch youngsters bursting firecrackers and savour local food delights as you soak in the electric Diwali vibe.
Lucknow’s Diwali celebrations reflect the city’s ganga jamuni tehzeeb. Grand processions, Ram Lila performances and firecracker shows mark the festival. The state capital is bathed in the glow of diyas and fairy lights. Indulge your sweet tooth with specialities like sohan papdi and gulab jamun. Visit Hazratganj market and Janpath market to see decorations and shop for gifts and sweets. The unique Awadhi charm makes Diwali in Lucknow worth experiencing.
While less known, Diwali revelry in Kollam is a sight to behold. The Ashtamirohini festival coincides with Diwali and is marked by vibrant ritual celebrations. Decked up women carrying lighted nilavilakku (a metal lamp) on their head is a common sight. Fireworks light up the sky as part of Vrishchikotsavam. Watch temple festivities, take a houseboat ride along the serene backwaters, and relish sadhya on a Diwali holiday in Kollam.
In the Twilight of Diwali
These mesmerizing destinations offer unique ways to experience the magic, lights and feast of Diwali. From hill stations to villages, laidback beach towns to bustling cities, there are myriad places in India to travel to during the festival of lights. Plan an exciting Diwali holiday in India this year and create memorable moments with your loved ones amidst sparkling lights and festive fervour. Whether you want to soak in the spiritual ambience of Varanasi and Udaipur or experience the extravagant celebrations of Mumbai and Kolkata, rest assured you’ll be dazzled by the festival of lights in these handpicked destinations.