India and the world celebrate Diwali
People exchanged sweets and decorated their homes with earthen lamps as fireworks lit the sky across the country today on Diwali which also witnessed perfect bonhomie prevailing along the Indo-Pak borders with soldiers of the two countries shaking hands and mixing with each other.
The excitement of the occasion was palpable especially among the children and youth who burst crackers and let off fireworks to celebrate the occasion throughout the country.
Diwali festivities reached their peak in the national capital with people exchanging sweets and greeting each other on the occasion as the chant of vedic hymns and fragrance of incense sticks emanating from temples and homes charged the
Security was tightened across the national capital, especially in and around vital installations, markets and places of worship on the occasion in view of the terror threat.
Image: Muslim schoolgirls pose during celebrations to mark Diwali at a school in Ahmedabad
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
India celebrates Diwali with traditional fervour
In Amritsar, thousands of Sikhs took a holy dip in the pool at the Golden Temple and paid obeisance at its sanctum
sanctorum to celebrate the festival since on this day in 1620, Guru Hargobind Sahib, the 6th Sikh master, was released from captivity by Mughal emperor Jahangir.
Diwali was celebrated with traditional enthusiasm across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Markets in the cities and towns of the two states and Chandigarh witnessed heavy rush of people, who were busy making the purchases on the auspicious occasion. People also thronged the temples to pay their obeisance. The Golden Temple at Amritsar was tastefully illuminated as people poured in numbers to pay their obeisance.
Image: Onlookers stand beside earthen lamps during Diwali celebrations in Chandigarh
Photographs: Ajay Verma/ Reuters
Diwali goes global
Indians from all walks of life greeted each other in the United Arab Emirates, exchanged gifts and joined festivities on the occasion of Diwali across the Gulf region even as Indian embassies remained closed and telecom companies offered reduced tariff for those wishing to call friends and relatives in India.
Ethnic Indians celebrated Diwali in Malayasia with the prime minister Najib Razak, who is championing the 'One-Malayisa' concept in this multi-ethnic country, joining the festival of lights celebrations along with other leaders, many non-Hindus.
Malaysia has a unique "open house" tradition, where all festivals are celebrated by individuals and politicians by opening their house to people of all faith to attend the festivities.
Hindu temples across the country were packed with devotees. Diwali is a public holiday in this multi-religious country. A open house organised by Malaysia's largest ethnic Indian political party, Malaysian Indian Congress, on Saturday
was attended by Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor as well as Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin.
Image: Children sit beside lighted lamps during Diwali celebrations in Siliguri
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Ram from exile
Sri Lankan Tamils marked the festival with President Mahinda Rajapaksa promising the beginning of a new era where their sufferings "will be a thing of the past" and they would be able to return to their homes in the war-torn north, adding "the light of goodwill will dispel the darkness of terror in our land". People clad in new attire thronged temples and distributed sweets among their community members and friends while children burst fire crackers. According to Hindu belief, Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom after 14 years of exile
Image: A man looks at colourful Diwali lamps in Mumbai
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
Diwali represents the victory of good over evil
Indian Border Security Force Commandant S H Dhillon handed over seven boxes of traditional Indian sweets and a big basket of fruits to the Wing Commander of Pakistan Rangers Mohhammad Akbar Ali Bhatt at the joint check post at Attari Border in Punjab.
The BSF presented the sweets and fruits to their Pakistan counterparts in colourful paper wraps. Indian troops also handed over sweets to their Pakistani counterparts in Poonch, defence sources said. A column of troops led by Colonel J P Yadav handed over eight boxes of sweets and dry fruits to Pakistani side represented by Colonel Asad at Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point along Line of Control on Saturday morning, they said. Asad, while exchanging greetings with his Indian counterpart, prayed for peace between the two neighbouring countries.
The BSF gifted sweets and fruits to Pakistan Rangers at the international borders at Attari and Poonch, mixed with one
another, shook hands and exchanged pleasantries as a goodwill gesture on the occasion which symbolises the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.
Image: BSF soldiers set off fire crackers to celebrate Diwali at the India-Bangladesh border on the outskirts of Siliguri
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters