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India lights up on Diwali

October 23, 2014 20:44 IST
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A Border Security Force (BSF) soldier lights sparklers near the border with Bangladesh on the outskirts of Agartala. Photographs: Jayanta Dey/Reuters

Diwali, the festival of lights, was celebrated with traditional fervour across the country with people exchanging sweets and gifts with friends and relatives, decking up their houses with earthen diyas and tiny lights and illuminating the evening sky with fireworks.

Children and youths burst crackers and lit sparklers while families, dressed up in their best outfits, visited their neighbours, exchanged 'Happy Diwali' greetings and sweets.

A view of decorated Madan Mohan Malviya Stadium with oil lamps during Diwali festival celebration in Allahabad. Photographs: PTI Photo

People also took the route of SMS and social networking websites to wish each other.

Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya from his exile after vanquishing demon-king Ravana.

Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers enjoy Diwali celebrations on the eve of Diwali at the India-Bangladesh border post of Lankamura. Photographs: PTI Photo

In the national capital, people decorated their homes and shops with colourful 'rangolis' and flowers and lit diyas.

People also celebrated Diwali in other parts of the country with traditional fervour and gaiety. Devotees thronged temples and offered prayers.

A girl buys marigold garlands on Diwali in Allahabad. Photographs: PTI Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the people on the occasion saying, "Lets share happiness and joy during this festive season. Share Diwali e-greetings with your family and friends."

Modi visited Jammu and Kashmir and spent some time with soldiers posted on the heights of Siachen Glacier to send the message that all Indians stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them.

He also greeted President Pranab Mukherjee from the icy heights on the occasion.

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg celebrate Diwali with Indian-origin parliamentarians and businessman in London. Photographs: PTI Photo

Modi then travelled to Srinagar to meet the flood victims in Jammu and Kashmir.

In the wake of repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC, there was no exchange of sweets this time between BSF personnel and Pakistan Rangers unlike previous years.

"In the light of present scenario with Pakistan, this time India has decided not to offer sweets to Pakistan on Diwali," BSF IG, Punjab Frontier, Ashok Kumar said.

People release a hot air baloon to celebrate Diwali in Kolkata. Photographs: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI Photo

During Eid festival too, no exchange of sweets took place for similar reasons.

Police and fire personnel were on their toes to meet any exigencies.

Diwali fever caught up the Bollywood with celebrities including Anupam Kher, Raveena Tandon who called on their fans to remember the Kashmir flood victims on the auspicious occasion.

Devotees light lamps in Keshev Dev Temple premises during Diwali Festival celebration in Mathura. Photographs: PTI Photo

With the environmentalists and government emphasising on celebrating a crackers-free Diwali, some celebrities urged their fans to have fireworks free Diwali.

In West Bengal, people celebrated Kali puja and Diwali, with fun and frolic.

Large crowd of devotees thronged Kali temples, including the famous ones at Kalighat, Dakshineswar and Tarapith, since early morning. People in large numbers were also seen visiting Kali puja pandals, illuminated with dazzling lights in the evening.

In Amritsar in Punjab, there was a large rush of devotees at the Golden Temple. They took a dip in the 'sarowar' (holy tank) and offered prayers at the Golden temple, the sanctum sanctorum, which was brightly illuminated with lights and the traditional 'diyas'.

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