Unforgettable Diwali

India flower market

There are so many reasons to celebrate being in India, but if you want to join in the country’s most vibrant festival then find out from Christine Wilson why you’ll want to plan your trip around 26 October, 2011, or 13 November, 2012…

“I had the time of my life on Intrepid’s Unforgettable India trip, and to top it off my adventure luckily coincided with Diwali – the Festival of Lights.

Diwali is a 5-day celebration and the most important festival of the year. The days leading up to the main festival date were shopping madness. The markets were teeming with locals buying gifts for all their friends and family and the streets were lined with strings of lights and decorations. Everything was just so colourful.

Trinkets and hampers of food and sweets were popular gifts to buy, and so was jewellery. The jewellery shops were packed. On the main festival day we ventured into Old Delhi and the flower market, that was buzzing with people purchasing vibrant orange marigolds from piles of blooms on the ground.

At night every house, every shop and even the street vendors lit candles that made the streets sparkle. We walked around Connaught Place and popped into the Imperial Hotel (a vestige of opulence from the British colonial days). It was so wonderful inside – like stepping back in time. By chance we timed our visit for some fireworks that they let off on the main lawn. This was a taste of things to come. Fireworks lit up the sky into the early hours of the morning. There were massive explosions of noise and lights all over the city. Every rooftop had people letting off these crackers. The night air started to fill with smoke and eventually the streets emptied as everyone went home to be with their families.

We returned to our hotel and celebrated the night on our own rooftop while watching the pyrotechnic display. It was chaotic with loud noises everywhere and crackers exploding rather too close for comfort, but the colour, the festivities, the excitement and the atmosphere made this a very special time to be in Delhi!”

Photo: India flower market by Sudip Roychoudhury.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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We are in India during Diwali. But here in Varanasi, it is all about shopping for new saris, jewelry and decor for the home, then going home for the holiday to celebrate with family. There are personal fireworks but no public celebrations.

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