Where will you celebrate Diwali? Varanasi, Kabini or Goa?
Whether you like to be in the midst of the festivities or fly away into some remote destination, we bring you a list of places where you can spend this Diwali.
Some like it loud, some like it bright, while others like it quiet and cosy. It is the festive season and all of India is celebrating. Deepavali or Diwali, the Festival of Lights is around the corner and it gives you yet another reason to travel and celebrate. Whether you like to be in the midst of the festivities or fly away into some remote destinations, here are some places that you can choose from to spend this Diwali.
We start out with Varanasi that provides the ultimate Diwali experience at the Ghats of the Ganga.
Watch the dazzling aarti, the river reflecting a brilliant kaleidoscope of colours as the sky is lit with fireworks and the streets are a mayhem of festivities and life. You cannot wish for a more radiant Diwali.
Image: Ganga Aarti at Varanasi
Photographs: Magalie L'Abbe/Creative Commons
For those who prefer to wander away from the festive fervour and lose oneself in the pristine world of nature, Kabini is a great option. The only fireworks you would see here is a radiant sky and some wildlife encounters if you are lucky.
Take a river cruise and look out for some early migrants who might have come in already. Some elephants may be having a swim or tearing at the bamboo stalks on the banks. And the dense forests are home to tigers, leopards, wild dogs, gaurs and elephants among other animals and it might just be your lucky day to spot them in the wild.
Kabini is just five hours by road from Bengaluru and there are quite a few forest lodges for accommodation.
Image: Kabini, Karnataka
Photographs: Ramesh Meda/Creative Commons
Silence is your companion here as you float gently on the backwaters in Kerala. The rains have just ended and the greenery only gets greener. Do nothing on your trip. Look at the sun playing with the clouds, the sky changing colours and the waters reflecting the myriad shades.
Kerala is relatively quiet during Diwali and for those who want to escape the pollution, this is the ultimate destination.
I would recommend a cruise for over 24 hours so that you can lose yourself in the seamless waters.
Image: Kerala Backwaters
Photographs: Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters
The great thing about Goa is it offers some pretty interesting options for things to do during the festive season. There are of course, the floating casinos which might interest you if you like gambling on Diwali but if you want a dose of culture, Goa has that too. India's most famous beach state gets festive every season with parades featuring effigies of Narakasura (the demon Krishna killed) that are burnt at the end.
Image: An effigy of Narkasura
Photographs: Nicolas Mirguet/Creative Commons
The brilliant array of lights and the glowing markets beckon you to the Pink City. Rajasthan is a land of colours and during Diwali, the entire city comes alive in a dazzling display of lights.
Add a bit of shine to your shopping as all the markets in Jaipur will be competing for the most brightly lit market this Diwali. Talk about India Shining indeed!
Photographs: Ashwan Levis/Creative Commons
The evergreen shola forests, the quaint hill stations with quainter trains, the lakes and streams that mysteriously show up in the jungles, the carpet of tea plantations -- Nilgiris is much more than Ooty. Relive your childhood memories, take the train up the hills and watch the Blue Mountains shrouded by a dense canopy of trees.
There is a certain allure about The Nilgiris and I can never resist it.
Tip: look for homestays far away from Ooty. Even Upper Coonoor and Kotagiri are better options.
Image: The Nilgiris
Photographs: Prateek Rungta/Creative Commons
This is the heart of coffee county in India and according to lore, it all started with seven seeds of coffee smuggled by a pilgrim named Baba Budan when he was on a journey back home from Mecca. He planted the coffee seeds in his own backyard and the rest of course is history.
The hills of Baba Budan or Baba Budan Giri beckon you this festive season.
Watch the mist play with the mountains, covering the plantations as they slope down the hills. Waterfalls, temples, forests, wildlife, birds, rivers and streams are some of the reason that Chikmagalur should be your favourite choice this season. It is barely six hours by road from Bangalore.
Photographs: Lensman Vishy/Creative Commons
A town that is named after the singing waves with a fort on its shore, a bungalow on the beach that traces back to the colonial period, an ancient temple that has been eroded by the sea, a couple of streets named after the king and the queen, a school that tells you stories of a German missionary, a gate that reminds you of the time the Danes entered Tamil Nadu -- Tranquebar (also known as Taragambadi) is as remote as it gets.
Barely three hours from Pondicherry, this village was once a Danish colony before the British took it over. You can do nothing the whole day and listen just to the melody of the waves, while tuning into the century old history of this coastal hamlet.
Image: Tranquebar (also known as Taragambadi)
Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath