Places to Visit in India During Diwali
As Christmas is to the western world, Diwali is to India. Diwali or Deepawali, also known as the festival of lights, is the most anticipated and popular festival in India. It is celebrated with great pomp and joy across India, and especially in North Indian cities. While there are many regional variations with how Diwali is celebrated, there are some commonalities that cut across regional and linguistic lines.
Diwali marks the victory and good over evil. It is a celebration of Lord Ram, Goddess Sita, and Lord Laxman’s homecoming after a 14-year exile and the defeat of demon king Ravana. Diwali has great Importance in Hindu religion is the main festival of Hindus, and it is celebrated with great fervor and cheers.
People decorate their houses and neighborhoods with fairy lights and light up the dark corners of the house and their surroundings with decorative candles and diyas. Diwali is not just a one-day festivity; it takes place for 4 days as many small festivals such as Choti Diwali, Bhai Duj, and Govardhan Pooja precede and succeed it. There are many public celebrations during Diwali too. There are community festivals, markets, firework shows, and common decorations that infuse a festive spirit across Northern India.
The best way to experience Diwali in India is by traveling in some of the main towns and cities during the festivities. It is magical to experience the festive hustle and bustle of Indian cities during this festival. Everything becomes bright and beautiful during Diwali.
Here are some of the best places to visit in India during Diwali:
Jaipur, the pink city
The pink city of India, Jaipur, is one of the most historically relevant cities in the Indian sub-continent. The Royal Palace of Jaipur lits up during all major festivals but particularly during Diwali. The main market of the city and all historic entry gates are also beautifully decorated with lights and laser decorations. You can enjoy the best tourist attractions in Jaipur with your family and friends with the help of a Travel agency in India.
Festive decorations accompany the street lights, and there are many community-led festivals organized across the city by the government. All major monuments and government buildings are decorated to mark the occasion of Deepawali and markets set up special Diwali melas where one can buy home décor, exquisite earthen pots, and handicrafts.
Jaipur is a very well connected city. It has an airport that runs domestic flights to all major cities of India, including Delhi, Jaisalmer, Ahemdabad, Mumbai, etc. The Rajasthan State Transport Corporation runs affordable busses all day long to other major cities of Rajasthan.
The Jaipur Rail station also has an elaborate schedule of trains connected to main Indian cities. The transport system makes this city highly accessible around the year and adds more convenience to the lives of tourists and locals alike.
With a history spanning hundreds of years, hospitality that wins hearts, and enchanting culture, Jaipur is set to win your heart at first sight. One can spend their days marvelling at old forts or indulging in nature sightseeing at beautiful markets, Jaipur has something for everyone. During Diwali, this beautiful city looks even more beautiful.
Here are some tourists’ spots of Jaipur that you should visit while you are in the city:
City Palace: Constructed between 1729 to 1732, the City Palace is situated in the heart of Jaipur. The Palace has a large museum within its premises along with some shops that sell authentic Jaipuri handicrafts such as Jaipuri razai. The Palace is open every day from 9:30 am to 5 pm and then from 7 pm to 10 pm for night viewing. There is a large discount given to students when they procure their student IDs.
Pink City Bazaar
Pink City Bazaar: Situated close to Hawa Mahal and City Palace, the Pink City Bazaar has every type of beautiful Jaipuri handicrafts and a plethora of other items. You can buy gifts for yourself and your family from Pink City Bazaar. The market is specially decorated around festivals and remains closed on Sunday. If you are confused about what you buy in markets, then the Rajasthan travel guide can help you in buying clothes or any items.
Hawa Mahal: Made in 1799, this marvellous piece of architecture can’t be missed when you are in Jaipur. Its towering figure and interesting architecture make a great place for photography. Hawa Mahal is open every day from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The ticket prices are INR 50 for foreigners and INR 10 for Indian nationals.
Nahargarh Fort: Situated above Amer Fort, Nahargarh Fort represents the past glory of Rajputs. This large fort looks over Jaipur and Amer. The view of the sunset is especially exquisite from this fort. One can visit the Jaipur Wax museum that is in the fort and enjoy a quaint picnic within its premises with your friends and family. The fort is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. In addition to Nahargarh fort, you can see the other best palaces tourist attractions in Jaipur.
Amber Fort: Made in 1592 by Raja Mansingh, Amer Fort is a powerful fort that has many beautiful buildings within its complex. It is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm and costs INR 25 for Indian citizens and INR 200 for foreigners. Amber Fort has Sheesh Mahal that has great glasswork, and one can also enjoy Elephant rides around the fort premises.
Jal Mahal: This exquisite summer retreat house made by the Jaipur royalty in the 18th century is a perfect spot for watching sunrise and sunset. It opens from 9 am to 5 pm, and the tickets are priced at INR 10 for Indian citizens and INR 50 for foreign nationals. Jal Mahal is also a great spot for bird watching.
Albert Hall Museum
Albert Hall Museum: This museum is a must-visit for all those who are interested in history and architecture. Made in 1887, this beautiful building has the best collection of artefacts that represent Rajasthan’s royalty. The museum also an Egyptian mummy in its collection. The museum is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm and then later from 7 pm to 10 pm.
Jantar Mantar Observatory
Jantar Mantar Observatory: This place is a must-visit for all astronomy buffs. This observatory is open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. The ticket price for foreign nationals is INR 200, while Indian tourists have to pay INR 40 only. Jantar Mantar Observatory comes in the list of world’s largest observatories.
Varanasi, the holy city
Varanasi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It has immense importance in Hindu culture and is known by many names such as Kashi and Banaras. The ghats of Varanasi are decorated immensely during Diwali, and the religious city brightens up for the one week during with Diwali is celebrated in the city. This holy city has seen the presence of many sages, saints, renowned artists, and other personalities.
Many national and international movies have been shot in Varanasi over the years, and many of the city’s main points are instantly recognizable to a large population of Indians who have seen this city is widely represented. During Diwali, the charm of Varanasi has increased many folds automatically and experiencing the hustle and bustle of the city becomes an experience in itself.
Since Varanasi is a very popular pilgrimage point, people from all over India and around the world visit this holy city. This influx and regular going and coming of people to this city have ensured that Varanasi remains very well connected throughout the year. There are railway and an airport in this city that connects it to all major cities of India such as Delhi, Kanpur, etc.
The railway and airport schedule is always dense, and you can always find trains and flights. The Uttar Pradesh bus system also has a great presence in Varanasi, and one can find affordable busses around the clock.
Here are a few things that one must do and places one must visit as when they come to Varanasi.
Take a boat ride in river Ganga
A boat ride in the early hours of the morning or at dusk is the best way to experience the beautiful sight of the holy Ganga river in Varanasi. This city is famous for these boat rides. When the rays of sun hit the tranquil water of the holy river and the soft voice of boat rows create a soft continuous humming, one feels a sense of peaceful spirituality descending on them. The cost of boat rides depends on the negotiations and the time of the day. It is better to take a group boat rather than hiring the whole boat for oneself if you are looking for an affordable option.
The observatory of Jantar Mantar is a must-see in Varanasi. This spot in the city is not filled with tourist, so one finds a peaceful respite in Jantar Mantar. Although the Varanasi’s observatory is not as well preserved as Jaipur or Delhi’s it still makes for a must-visit due to its charm. Those who are interested in history and astronomy would particularly enjoy Jantar Mantar.
Built-in 1740, Dashashwamedh Ghat, is a holy ghat on the banks of river Ganga. This ghat has become famous because of its beautiful evening aarti. The pious chats of aarti and the radiating light from the pooja diyas create a beautiful sight. The Dashashwamedh Ghat is situated close to the ancient Vishwanath Temple and is considered the most beautiful ghat in Varanasi. It is open all 24 hours every day of the week.
Try street food and bhang
Other than temples and shrines, Varanasi is also world-famous for its street food. Be it summer or winter, the street food of Varanasi is always apt. The snacks are available in different tastes, be it sweet, sour, or spicy. Don’t miss the delectable aalo kachori, jalebi, and chat. One must pair these snacks with bhang for the best experience. Bhang has intoxicating properties, so make sure to have company when you decide to gulp delicious glasses of bhang. If you are a huge foodie then you should take a food tour of the city and experience the culinary wonders hidden in the old lanes of Varanasi.
Built-in 1750, Ramnagar fort is located opposite Tulsi Ghat and has a magnificent location. The fort is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. The fort built by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh is designed in Mughal style. The fort has Dakshin Mukhi Hanuman Temple and a museum within its premises. The fort is decorated heavily during Dusherra and Diwali and invites visitors from around India. It is one of the royal embodiments that depicts the grandeur and legacy of the rulers in historical times.
While Varanasi is the holy city of Hindus, the town of Sarnath, which is merely 10 km away from Varanasi, is an important Buddhist place. Lord Gautam Buddha spent many years of his life in Sarnath. If you are traveling to Varanasi, you should also keep 3-4 hours aside for Sarthnath as well. There are many Buddhist shrines and holy places in Sarnath.
Banaras Hindu University (BHU)
Founded by freedom fighter, Shri Mahan Mohan Malviya and Ms Anne Besant in 1916, Banaras Hindu University is over 100 years old. The architecture of BHU is beautiful, and the campus is spread in many acres. There are close to 30,000 students in BHU, and it is considered the largest residential university in not just India, but Asia. It is widely renowned for its esteemed faculties and excellent education system.
New Delhi, the capital city
New Delhi, which is the capital of India, treats Diwali as a serious festival. The whole capital city of Delhi lights up during the festival of Diwali. There are elaborate decorations around the city, and public places are well decorated. Light shows and Ram Leelas are organised around the city during Diwali. Delhi is also the home of many temples, each of which makes special preparations during Diwali.
Many fairs and festivals that have been taking place in Delhi for hundreds of years continue their tradition. Fairs like Luv-Kush Mela at Chandini Chowk are some of the oldest Diwali fairs in Delhi and have a distinct charm of their own. Public parks like Central Park in Connaught Place organise large scale fairs to create a festive spirit. The bylines of Delhi and streets are covered in lights and decorations from Dusherra to Diwali.
Being the national capital of India, there is no dearth of India there is no dearth of transportation facilities here. Delhi has several railway stations and two national and international airports. The Delhi metro is an excellent, affordable, and convenient system of intercity travel. The Delhi metro is one of the best transit systems in the world and is expanded to all areas of Delhi. One can also easily get private cabs and autos for City travel.
Here are a few things that one must do and places one must visit as when they come to Delhi:
One of the most recognisable buildings India, Red Fort is a beautiful fort situated in Chandini Chowk area. The Red Fort complex has several museums and important buildings within its premises. It takes close to 3 to 4 hours to go through the place properly. It is open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
This iconic building marks the beginning of the Mughal era in India. The Qutub Minar complex has many small and big monuments within its premises, other than the main tower. The visiting time is open from 7 am to 5 pm every day. There are bag keeping facilities available at the premises. Mehrauli Archeological Park is also close by Qutub Minar.
This marvelous piece of architecture is a meditation center dedicated to Bahai faith, but people from all religions visit it. The temple is open from 9 am to 5:30 from Tuesday to Saturday. There is no ticking fee. This is a perfect place for a retreat if you are looking for a peaceful retreat.
Delhi has been represented in pop culture around the world with India Gate, so it makes sense that one must visit India Gate while visiting Delhi. This war memorial, make in 1931 is dedicated to 70,000 soldiers who lost their lives during the world war one. One can take a stroll at India Gate or spend a relaxing picnic day there too. There is no ticket price to visit the site.
Once you are done visiting the Red Fort, spend the remaining of your day exploring the by lanes of Chandini Chowk. You can get amazing clothes, stationery, and traditional perfumes at affordable prices here. There are many hidden places of historical relevance, such as Galib ki Haveli, situated here. The street food in Chandini Chowk is extremely popular, and one should take a food tour to explore this area of Chandini Chowk fully.
The National Museum of Delhi has several galleries and is spread on expansive three floors. It has the best collection of artefacts spanning from the Indus Valley Civilisation to the modern age. Audio guides in major international languages are available at the museum. The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm. It is closed on Sunday.
Diwali in Amritsar is an expansive affair which is celebrated alongside, Bandi Chor Diwas which is held to mark the return of Guru Hargobind Sahib, the sixth Sikh guru, from the captivity of rival kings. Amritsar is a large metropolis with several tourist attractions. This city is visited by both international and domestic tourists around the year.
The charm of Amritsar is increased many folds during Diwali as the city gets decorated brightly during the days leading up to the festival. Amritsar is highly accessible through rail, road, and flight. The city has its own airport and a busy railway station. One can find plenty of public and private transportation within the city premises too.
This fort that was controlled by the army till recently was open for public viewing from 10th February 2017. Maharaja Ranjit Singh built the Fort in 1760. Gobindgarh is a very well-curated live museum. It is open on all days from 10 am to 10 pm.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
This museum is dedicated to the brave Maharaja Ranjit Singh and has an expansive collection of arts, arms, and other artefacts. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm. It is closed on Monday.
The Jallianwala Bagh is a place of national importance as it is preserved in the remembrance of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre which tragically occurred on 13th April 2019. The solemn place is open every day for visitors from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. Cultural programs and prayer service are held in Jallianwala Bagh every year during Baisakhi.
Harmandir Sahib, or more popularly called as the Golden Temple, is the most popular landmark of Amritsar. This is one of the holiest sites in Sikhism. Everyone from popular celebrities to common people, visit Golden Temple every year. The temple is open every day of the week from 3 am to 10 pm. The holy place has a stunning view during Diwali.
Dukh Bhanjani Beri
The Dukh Bhanjari Beri is a beautiful gurudwara. It was made in the 16th century. The gurudwara has a free kitchen service that feeds several people across the day. People from all sections of the society have food from the free public kitchen here. The gurudwara is open all 24 hours.
Partition Museum is a public museum that remembers the tragic times of partition and documents those times through objects of personal history, documents, and photographic and oral archives. The museum collection is very well curated and gives a full perspective of Partition.
The museum is located in the town hall and is open for public from 10 am to 6 pm. It is open on all days, except Monday. Partition museum leaves a solemn effect on the visitors as it tells one of the biggest tragedies of the Indian subcontinent and the biggest migration of human history with sensitivity.
Diwali is celebrated in Goa as Naraka Chaturdashi with local residents cleaning and decorating their houses with kandeels or lanterns on their windows and front door. Larger than life-size effigies of demon Naraka is made up of paper, is filled with firecrackers and is coloured and designed to appear scary. This effigy is then burned in a similar manner of burning the effigy of Ravana during Dussehra. Local villages compete with each other with whose effigy is the tallest or the scariest.
This burning of the Naraka effigy attracts a lot of visitors to the local villages in Goa as the festival of Diwali coincides with the peak tourist season in Goa.
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