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Diwali: Festival of Lights

By Viator, September 2014

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For Hindus throughout India and the world, the celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most important events on the calendar. The five-day festival, which typically takes place between mid-October and mid-November, has roots in ancient India, when it likely started as a harvest festival. Today, it is linked with several legends in Hindu mythology, including the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita from exile in the epic Ramayana or the marriage of the goddess Lakshmi to her consort Vishnu.

During the festival, particularly on the night of Diwali itself, which falls on the new moon, families decorate their homes with candles and lanterns. Small oil lanterns made from clay, called diyas, are lit in worship of the Goddess Lakshmi, and doors and windows of homes are left open to invite the goddess of prosperity into the home. Families and friends exchange gifts and sweets, and after sundown fireworks and sparklers light up the night sky.

Since the festival of Diwali is associated with wealth and prosperity, gambling has become a festival tradition. According to legend, the Goddess Parvati diced with her husband Shiva during Diwali and stated that anyone who gambled on the holiday would enjoy good luck and prosperity in the following year.

Diwali is celebrated throughout India, except in Kerala where Onam is the main festival. It is possible to enjoy the festive atmosphere, decorations and fireworks out in the streets of cities like Varanasi, Amritsar and Jaipur, by far the best way to experience Diwali is through a homestay with a local Hindu family.

Tours & Tickets

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5-Night Diwali Experience and Golden Triangle Private Tour: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Mandawa

Celebrate Diwali, India’s Festival of Lights, on a 5-day private tour only available in October. Join the festivities in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Mandawa ...  Read more

Location: Delhi, India
Duration: 6 days (approx.)

From USD $1,033.99

Experience Diwali: Celebrate with a Local Indian Family in Mumbai

Experience Diwali, India's Festival of Lights, firsthand with a local family and knowledgeable guide in Mumbai. Learn about this ancient Hindu holiday as you ...  Read more

Location: Mumbai, India
Duration: 5-6 hours

From USD $119.99

Experience Diwali: Celebrate with a Local Indian Family in Delhi

Celebrate Diwali, India’s annual Festival of Lights, at the home of a resident family in Delhi. Discover fascinating aspects of this ancient Hindu holiday, ...  Read more

Location: Delhi, India
Duration: 5-6 hours

From USD $92.99

Experience Diwali: Celebrate with a Local Indian Family in Jaipur

Enjoy the traditions and festivities of Diwali with a local family in Jaipur. A knowledgeable guide takes you shopping for colorful clothing before ...  Read more

Location: Jaipur, India
Duration: 5-6 hours

From USD $92.99

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