Hindu Festival of Lights

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Festival highlights

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.

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.

 

Hindu Festival of Lights

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 (2023)

For the year 2023, the Hindu Festival of Lights will be celebrated on November 12, 2023. It is a five-day celebration and it will be celebrated from November 10 to 14, 2023.

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.

If you liked this festival, you might want to check out these other wonderful lights festivals as well:

Dubai Festival of Lights

Swan Festival of Lights

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.

Here are a few more festivals of lights that you might want to visit:
Hamburg Festival Of Lights
Lights Festival Lubbock
Franktown Festival of Lights

FAQ

1. Where Can I Park?

If you’re attending a community Diwali event, parking facilities will likely be provided but can fill up quickly. Arriving early is advisable. For residential celebrations, street parking may be available, but always be mindful of local regulations.

2. Is Smoking Allowed?

Smoking rules depend on the venue. Generally, temples and indoor community centers prohibit smoking. If you’re celebrating at someone’s home, it’s best to ask the hosts for their smoking policy.

3. Can I Bring My Pets?

Pets may not be suited for Diwali celebrations due to the loud noises from firecrackers. If attending a public event, check with the organizers about their pet policy. Service animals are usually allowed where necessary.

4. What About Restrooms?

If you are attending a community event, restroom facilities will typically be available on-site. For home celebrations, the host will provide facilities for guests.

5. Will Food Be Served?

Yes, Diwali is known for its delicious range of sweets and savory snacks. Community events often feature food stalls, while home celebrations involve a variety of homemade dishes.

6. Are Fireworks Allowed?

Fireworks are a major part of Diwali celebrations but are subject to local laws. Always use fireworks responsibly and follow safety guidelines. If you’re attending a community event, a professional fireworks display may be included.

7. What Should I Wear?

Traditional Indian attire is commonly worn during Diwali. Men often wear kurtas, while women may wear sarees or salwar kameez. However, the dress code may vary depending on the venue and type of celebration.

8. Are Gifts Exchanged?

Yes, it’s customary to exchange gifts during Diwali, especially sweets. Some people also give practical items like kitchenware or decorative objects. When attending a Diwali celebration, it’s polite to bring a small gift for the hosts.

Sources:

https://inews.co.uk/news/world/when-diwali-2023-start-date-why-hindu-festival-five-days-how-celebrated-2680911

https://odynovotours.com/india/festival-of-light-diwali.html

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