Diwali is a 5 day festival in India. It represents the victory of good over evil. This time of the year marks the beginning of the winter season in India. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya with his wife and younger brother Laxman after killing the demon king Ravana. Diwali is also called Deepavali. The latter is a Sanskrit word which refers a row of lights. Diwali doesn't fall on the same day every year. The calculations are made according to the Hindu lunar solar calendar. In 2012, Diwali will be celebrated on the 13th November.
Diwali celebrations start with Dhanteras (11th November, 2012 this year) when people go shopping and purchase new clothes, sweets and jewellery. The third day is Diwali when people wear new clothes, worship Goddess Laxmi (The Goddess of wealth and prosperity), light earthen lamps, enjoy firecrackers and greet their relatives and friends. They share food and sweets with each other. The fourth day is the new year when businessmen start the new year with fresh accounts. Rituals vary from region to region as India's culture is diverse; however, blessings are sought from Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi. Lord Ganesha is considered as remover of all obstacles. People worship these Gods for prosperity and peace of mind. They clean their houses to make sure that Goddess Laxmi comes to their houses as she visits the cleanest houses first.
Places to Visit and Ways to Celebrate Diwali:-
Jaipur:- Known as The Pink City, Jaipur is a must visit place during Diwali festivities. Not only buildings but also markets are decorated during Diwali. The entire city comes alive as it becomes bright, shining and fascinating to say the least.
Varanasi:- If you want to get a divine experience, you must visit Varanasi. You should stay in a riverside hotel. This will give you a perfect view of the fireworks on the sacred river Ganges. People worship Ganges and light earthen lamps.
Amritsar:- Diwali is celebrated in a grand way at The Golden Temple of Amritsar. You will see breathtaking fireworks over the temple. The temple is glad with lights and the lake is embellished with numerous earthen lamps. Devotees offer prayers and wish for peace and prosperity for their near and dear ones.
Goa:- The main attraction of Diwali celebrations in Goa is on Narakasura's (A demon) destruction by Lord Krishna. Effigies of the demon are burned a day before Diwali. This is done at the crack of dawn.
Delhi:- Delhi is a happening place. You will see energy and enthusiasm galore all over. If you are fond of shopping, then Delhi is the place for you. Delhi is a special attraction for the foreigners, as they love to visit Delhi, especially during this season. Thanks to the availability of cheap flights to Delhi.
Apart from this you can enjoy special recipes such as Annakoot and several Indian sweets on this festival of lights, love and joy.