Diwali in India – Round Two!

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Since we got a lot of appreciation for our first article on the different ways to spend Diwali in India, we thought you’d like a second round! Here’s some more information on how you can spend the festival of lights in the way you want.

Andhra Pradesh
Here the festivities might be one of the most boisterous ones yet! Celebrations begin at dawn and carry on well into dusk. Families visit temples to receive the blessing of their gods. In Hyderabad, two things set it apart from Diwali anywhere else. One is that the city bathes buffaloes on Diwali! The second aspect is that the people decorate their homes with paper figures!

Diwali is coincidentally the anniversary of the release of Guru Hargobindji, also known as Saccha Padshah, from prison at Gwalior Fort in 1619 AD. He was the sixth of the great Sikh gurus.

Because of the religious significance of this, the Golden Temple on Diwali is lit up colourful, traditional lamps, illuminating the already beautiful temple and the holy pool which shimmers with its reflection. In a practice similar to Hyderabad, the villages cattle are decorated and worshiped by farmers since they are traditionally the main source of income for the rural folk. The story goes that when Guru Hargobind rescued fifty-two rajas from detention by the imperial forces in the then fort of Gwalior, on reaching Amritsar he was greeted by the residents illuminating the whole-city.

In Odisha, candles, oil lamps, and lanterns are lit and placed in rows around individual homes., similar to celebrations around India.

The defining difference in the Diwali celebrations in Odisha is that the locals burn jute stems to light up the dark path to allow the spirits of their ancestors to take the right road to heaven. Houses are light up with windows and doors thrown wide open as it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi will enter and bless the houses which are brightly lit, ignoring the dark places.