The ringing in of the festive season in India comes with the onset of chilly weather. There is an excitement and a thrill in the air, as people get ready for celebrations. The most prominent festival of India, Diwali, is celebrated around this time. Popularly called the festival of lights, it is the time when, as the story goes, Lord Rama returned home after a 14-year-long exile. It is said that that the people in his kingdom welcomed him by lighting diyas (earthen lamps) in their houses. Today, the festival is celebrated in much the same way. There is an exchange of presents and relatives gather together to wish each other the best.
If you are thinking of travelling this Diwali, these destinations have the most spectacular festivities.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
From Dussehra to Diwali, Varanasi comes alive with celebrations. From colourful fireworks to melodious chantings, there is much vibrancy here. Fireworks over the Ganges make for a spectacular view. You can also catch the Ganga arti (a fire ritual), when the whole expanse of the ghat is lit with diyas and candles, which are later floated down the river. Dev Deepawali, almost a fortnight after Diwali, is another grand occasion.

At the time of Diwali, Delhi is an upbeat and vibrant destination. It becomes a shopping paradise, with malls, markets, bazaars and even lone vendors putting their best on display. Decked to the nines, the markets are aglow with warm lights, inviting shoppers to splurge on presents and then on delicious snacks prepared in Delhi's various food joints. A highlight is the Diwali melas that are held throughout the city. These are filled with various attractions that are likely to perk up your festive mood.

To get a homely Diwali experience, head to Udaipur, where almost every house and rooftop is lit with diyas. The fireworks over Lake Pichola are a delightful sight as are the temples that are decorated to the hilt. The most popular is the Mahalaxmi Temple. There are several Diwali melas that are worth a visit to explore the local culture of the city.

Since Ayodhya is the epicentre of the story of Lord Ram, Diwali is the best time to visit the city. It is believed that it was here that the Lord returned with his wife and brother. The banks of the Saryu river are lit on the occasion and look fabulous. In 2018, a record of 3,00,000 lit diyas was set, earning the festival a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.


In Kolkata, Kali pujas are organised throughout the city. The various temples here, like, Belur Math, Kalighat, etc., invite a large number of devotees at this time. The entire city is lit up and celebrations are in full fervour.