There must be so many questions in your mind after reading the title; why must I plan a Diwali getaway? Is it feasible to travel during or around Diwali? How can Diwali in other cities be any different from how it is celebrated in my city? Why must I let go of my chole bhature? To begin with, let this information sink in; Diwali falls on a weekend this year. You know how you can turn that to your favour? By planning a Diwali weekend getaway! Diwali is celebrated within the walls of our warm cosy homes but this year, let’s try something different. Let this be the moment you decide to step out of your comfort zone and do something different because why the hell not! You never know what you might discover about your country or better, about yourself.
Here are 5 cities you should check out during Diwali this year:
This could be the perfect Diwali getaway for so many reasons! Varanasi is truly gorgeous but it becomes something entirely else during Diwali with the sky on fire and the shores glimmering with the oil lamps. Families are all on the streets, laughing and singing together. Children are running around the city, wearing bright and colourful clothes. For the best view and experience, stay at one of the riverside hotels in Varanasi. This beautiful city has so much to offer during this time. Bathe in the Ganga, explore the street markets, eat some mithai and buy vibrant clothes. Get yourself a boat! Bathe in the spiritual aura of this city. Sit with the crowd; sing chants and recitals on the riverside. Stay for a few more days to witness, Dev Deepavali, which translates to ‘the Diwali of Gods’, celebrated as a part of the Ganga Mahotsav festival that showcases Varanasi’s cultural and historical heritage. Submerge yourself in the Varanasi culture, you wouldn’t regret it. The best part about this Diwali getaway? You’ll never be truly alone.
You’ll never forget this Diwali getaway for it will always stay in your heart. The city of the Golden Temple has always been a pleasure to the eyes but on Diwali, which clashes with the Sikh celebrations of Bandi Chhor Divas which is celebrated to mark the return of the Sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, from Mughal imprisonment. Special prayers echoed throughout the city and the Golden Temple is dresses in light – if you like photography, this is your opportunity to catch Amritsar in one of its best days of the year. People in Punjab are very lively and love their dance and food. Leave hotels and restaurants- find the closest dhaba and eat your heart out! After all, a popular saying goes, Dal Roti Ghar Di Diwali Amritsar Di.
3. Purushwadi (Maharashtra)
If you are tired of the city life; take a break and plan a Diwali weekend getaway to this small village. Purushwadi is located on a hill along the Mumbai-Nashik highway. Families in this little town light a bonfire on the night of Diwali and cook local food, while children move from door to door, singing traditional songs, inviting each household to pour oil into their oil lamps. Do something different this Diwali, make rangolis, help in the rice harvest, chop wood for the bonfire. Let all your exhaustion burn away in the local bonfire. If you are looking for a quiet Diwali yet filled with light and festive warmth, this little village shall do.
Kolkata is known as The city of joy for a good reason! Kolkata is generally different compared to other cities, let alone when it comes to celebrating Diwali. This place has its own version of Diwali which occurs somewhere around the same time as the Kali Puja, the celebration of the goddess is usually associated with the creative power. You will get to witness unique offerings made to her during this fest. Apart from mithai and flowers, fish, meat and even a buffalo calf is offered to the Goddess. The city is lit up with lamps, bulbs and candles all over. A dazzling show of fireworks is a part of the celebrations too. After all, it has a name to live up to. Plan a Diwali getaway and make sure you live in the main part of the city to experience the culture better.
You want to do something entirely unique? Instead of planning a trip to goa for parties, plan a Diwali getaway! You’ll probably surprise yourself with what you experience! You’ll be a part of the famous, Narakasura ritual. In Goa, the focus of Diwali celebrations is on the destruction of the demon Narakasura, by Lord Krishna. Every Diwali, competitions are held in every village and city to see who can make the biggest and scariest effigy of this demon. They’re burned at dawn on Narakasura Chaturdashi, the day before the main day of Diwali. While cleaning the houses is a norm all over, people decorate their front doors and windows with lanterns. Scary effigies of Narakasura are made of paper, filled with grass and firecrackers. They are burnt down the next morning. This Diwali getaway is great for people who want to see a different aspect of Goa and still enjoy the beautiful beaches.
Coming back to the questions we raised in the beginning, yes it is feasible to travel during Diwali. Make sure you plan and make all the arrangement before. Don’t rely on last minute preparations. India is a diverse country; you can’t expect a person to be the same, so why make such assumptions about culture? Of course a Diwali getaway would help you learn so much about your own country but most of all, trips like these help you discover yourself and I think that is worth a shot. On the other note, you can definitely survive a Diwali without chole bhature, we believe in you!
Meanwhile, check out what Terrain Travellers in offering this season!