• Aashay Bhogte

Top 5 places to celebrate Diwali across the globe!

It’s 2020 and probably nobody would have guessed that a lockdown that started in March-end would continue all throughout the year disrupting all the travel plans, vacations, and almost everything else. But even in May when the lockdown didn’t seem to end, everyone hoped that the situation will be at least perfect by Diwali. Now calling it perfect would be an overstatement by leaps and bounds, but it is the middle of November and what it seems like is that the pandemic has definitely passed at least its first (and hopefully the last) peak. The improving situation and a locked-at-home-for-months Indian population meant that this Diwali was going to be a st

rong celebration, in the heart of the people at least, if not in terms of gatherings. To make it better, we bring to you some of the best places to celebrate Diwali:

1) Ayodhya-

Where else would Diwali be celebrated in all its glory, other than the place of its very origin? Diwali marks the day when the warrior Prince, Lord Ram and his wife Devi Sita returned to their kingdom of Ayodhya along with Lord Ram’s brother, Lord Lakshman, Lord Hanuman, and everyone else who had helped in attaining victory against Ravana from Lanka.

The day was an extremely joyous moment for the citizens in the Kingdom and was celebrated highly with sweets, lights, and crackers to mark the celebration according to the epic- Ramayana. In Ayodhya even today, people celebrate this festival with all their heart. Ayodhya also holds the world record of lighting the maximum number of days and has retained the record for the second time this year by lighting about 6 lakhs diyas for a span of 45 minutes!

2) Varanasi-

One of the popular Hindu pilgrimages, Varanasi which is famous for its

‘ghats’ along the bank of River Ganga also witness an absolutely gorgeous, and also definitively distinct Diwali celebration. On the full moon day in the Hindu month of Kartik, the ghats in Varanasi are sprawling with devotees who come to light diyas and also to watch sages perform yagnyas. One mesmerizing view is that of all the stairways in the Ganga ghats filled with lighted diyas, accompanied by some smaller floating diyas flowing down the pristine river Ganga on the full moon night.

3) North Goa-

A practice which is celebrated traditionally, mainly in

North Goa and Southern Coastal Maharashtra (Konkan) is the burning of the effigies of Narakasur. Narakasur, according to the epics, was a demon king who harassed the villagers in his kingdom and also sometimes, the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Narakasur was exterminated by Lord Krishna, thus putting an end to his reign of torment. To hail Lord Krishna, people and sometimes local communities often craft effigies of their own depiction of Narkasur using hay, old pieces of cloth, etc. Sometimes these Narkasur effigies are all too innovative, and they capture a satirical glimpse of our modern society and its problems. In the end, the effigy is burned in a collective bonfire. This is marked with other celebrations such as the hailing of chants, the lighting of crackers, etc., and is a great celebration to witness in person.

4) New York City/ Dubai-

It is a great feeling to watch our country’s festivals being celebrated internationally in this globalized world which we have today. Indians are present globally and often miss their homes and families during festivals. To give a feeling of homeliness to some of us, if not all, some places mark Diwali celebrations in their own way. The Empire State Building in NYC, for e.g. is lit up in orange to mark the celebration of Diwali. Another such celebration is marked by lighting up the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (UAE), with Diwali themed lights and extensive firecrackers outside the Mall (same area).

5) Fifth is my favorite and the best place to be on a Diwali- our own homes.

Festivals are best celebrated at home and cherished with our very own families.

Diwali is a festival with multiple occasions to celebrate and numerous traditions. It is enjoyed by eating sweets, dressing up beautifully, exchanging gifts of love, decorating our own homes, drawing rangolis, and more!

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