Hindu Festival of Lights

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Every culture celebrates the festival of light in some way, but it originated from India and the Hindu faith. The goal of the lights festival is to bring forward kindness, togetherness, gratitude, and compassion. The most famous is the Hindu Festival of Light, which is called Diwali.

 

Hindu Festival of Lights
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Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights, which celebrates good triumphing over evil and light over the darkness. Since ‘Diwali’ translated means ‘row of lighted lamps, you’re sure to see this feature all over India. This holiday is so important that it’s celebrated over five days.

The festivities vary throughout India, so each region has specific traditions and options. However, everyone follows a few practices and customs. For example, people clean their houses, perform special prayers, and use clay lamps with oil to decorate the home. Fireworks are also commonplace.

The Hindu Festival of Light is celebrated all over India. It’s the official holiday for each state in every region. However, there are a few top places to celebrate the lights festival, such as:

  • Varanasi
  • Jaipur
  • Goa
  • Amritsar
  • Kolkata

Festival Dates

 

For the 2021 year, the Hindu Festival of Lights starts on November 4. However, the date varies each year because it’s the start of the new year for those in India and other regions.

Where’s It At/How to Get There

 

The Hindu Festival of Light happens everywhere in India, so it’s hard to put it down to one location. However, Varanasi, Jaipur, Goa, Amritsar, and Kolkata are the five most popular destinations. In Varanasi, you can get the spiritual feel of the lights festival, while in Jaipur, there is special market shopping and treats to be had. If you travel to Goa, you can see demon effigies, and in Amritsar, the Sikh temples get illuminated quite nicely.

 

Those who aren’t Hindus may want to stick with Jaipur because this city is popping and has grand festivals. While you get the spiritual feel of the lights festival, it’s more of a tourist destination.

 

To get there, it depends on where you reside. If you’re in the United States, you’re going to have to fly. Once you’re in India, you can take a bus from Delhi, Kota, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, and Udaipur. It’s also possible to rent a vehicle and drive from these cities. However, it can take up to six hours if you take the NH 8 route. Therefore, it’s best to leave early so that you can get to Jaipur by nightfall and get situated in your hotel before the Hindu Festival of Lights events.

Festival Hours

 

It’s hard to pinpoint the hours of operation for the lights festival in Jaipur or anywhere in India. Festivities usually start around 5 p.m. and continue well into the early morning hours. Depending on what you want to do, it’s best to start out early so that you’re positioned where you want to be to enjoy the area.

 

Pricing

 

In almost all cases, it doesn’t cost anything to walk the grounds. However, if you choose to go into temples or attend a specific event, there could be a small fee. Ultimately, if you’re unfamiliar with the area and are considered a tourist, the best way to enjoy the Hindu Festival of Lights is through a tour. That way, you can enjoy many different areas, including Jaipur and Delhi.

 

Jaipur’s City Palace and the Ancient Astronomy Observatory (The Jantar Mantar) are two popular choices. Through a tour, you get to visit them without spending extra. To give you an idea, the City Palace costs 300 Rs for foreigners, and the Ancient Astronomy Observatory costs 200 Rs. As a comparison, one US dollar equals about 73 Indian Rupees.

 

Weather and What to Wear

 

On average, the weather in India gets as high as 84 degrees and as low as 56 degrees. There’s little chance for rain. This means that the temperatures are hot, even in ‘winter.’ Ultimately, you’re going to wear shorts, T-shirts, and loose, comfortable clothing. However, temperatures can dip down low at night, so consider bringing a hoodie or a sweatshirt to take the chill off.

 

Where to Sleep

 

If you do plan to go to Jaipur, you are likely going to need hotel accommodations for a few nights. The options are quite limitless, but you also want something that’s a good deal, clean, and has the amenities you need.

 

Bissau Palace is about 27 kilometers from the highway, but its tranquility is because of the many plantations and Aravalli hills. There are many things to do here, such as ride on camels through the villages and enjoy the hike to the temple upon the hill. You can also enjoy the pool, and there’s a buffet with recitals each night.

 

Samode Haveli is another option that’s close to the City Palace. It’s an urban oasis that’s situated in the walled Jaipur city. In fact, it’s a mansion that was changed into a hotel many years ago. Therefore, you have a more intimate apartment setting with beautiful courtyards and gardens to enjoy. Each room has a distinct character to reflect the rich culture and history of the area. Once you’ve encountered the Hindu Festival of Lights, you can relax at the spa, enjoy some exercise in the fitness center, or go for a swim in the pool.

 

The Raj Palace is quite expensive as far as Indians and other cultures are concerned. However, it’s an amazement in itself that you shouldn’t miss. Even if you only stay one night, you’re going to be impressed with the beauty and architecture. There are plenty of rooms and suites to consider, and each one is full of modern amenities that scream luxury. You also have access to an on-site restaurant.

Where to Eat

 

Now that you know where you’re staying for the night (or a few nights), it’s time to find out where to eat. Since you’re close to the City Palace, there’s no reason why you can’t eat at the Palace Café Restaurant. You’re going to find authentic Indian cuisine here. The casual atmosphere means that it’s suitable for families and those who don’t want to get dressed up. Alcohol is served here, and it accepts various cards and local currency.

 

Baradari Restaurant and Bar is another great choice. It features vegetarian-friendly meal options, as well as international cuisine. Whether you choose to sit outside and dine al fresco or you want to enjoy the restaurant-style seating, you can do either or both. It’s also open for breakfast, so you can get a good start to your day.

 

The Tattoo Café & Lounge is a more budget-friendly option, but it’s also farther away from the City Palace. It’s open for all meals and features takeout and free Wi-Fi. You can also find vegan and vegetarian meals here, as well as Indian, international, and contemporary fare. This rooftop café allows you to see the Wind Palace while you enjoy the friendly ambiance and home-cooked meals.

 

More Things to Do in the Area

 

You can’t go to Jaipur in India without visiting the City Palace. It’s the most prominent and gorgeous landmark in the area. This popular tourist attraction is a complex with many buildings. It’s likely going to take two or more hours to enjoy the Mubarak Mahal and Chandra Mahal, to name a few. Consider visiting the Pritam Niwas Chowk courtyard, the Diwan-I-Am hall (art gallery), and the Bagghi Khana museum while you’re there.

 

Hawa Mahal is another famous building in the area, and it’s quite beautiful. It’s called Palace of the Winds, and the structure features pink and red sandstone. The building was built in 1799 and is located at the edge of City Palace. The architecture is so unique, and it looks somewhat like a beehive. If you attend the Hindu Festival of Light, you’ve got to take a day and tour this location.

 

Jal Mahal is another great place to see. This city palace is right in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake and surrounded by hills. The ‘water palace’ is five stories high. What makes it so unique, though, is that four of the five levels are submerged under the lake’s surface. Originally a hunting lodge, it was renovated to be a private area. You can’t go into it, but you can see it from the eastern side of the Man Sagar Dam and the lakeshore.

 

If you want to immerse yourself in culture and originality, you’ve got to see the lights festival from India – where it all started. The Hindu Festival of Lights is the biggest event of the year, so make plans now to attend.

Arik Akunis
Arik Akunis

My name is Arik Akunis and I have been in the field of lighting for over the last 20 years, I started my journey in the world of lighting in the lighting niche for events where I first came across a festival of lights and immediately fell in love with it.