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Celebrating Diwali - A Visit to India

21 Oct 2022

This year Diwali takes place between 22 and 26 October with the main celebration on Monday 24 October.
Diwali spreads a message of friendship and togetherness.
Here, Kyoko describes a visit during Diwali... 

Photo of a temple statue on a wall decorated with garlands


Many years ago, a friend of mine in India said to me “Come and visit us during Diwali.”

Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists.

The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).

One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. - Wikipedia

I was in Pune in the month of November 2013 to practise yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, our mother institute. It also happened to be the time of Diwali. The Institute was closed for a few days during the festival, but one evening, Geetaji gave us a special free talk on the Bhagavad Gita.

The entrance of houses, hotels, restaurants and shops were beautifully decorated with colourful pictures for Diwali. These designs are not painted or drawn but created by meticulously placing powdered chalk into intricate patterns on the ground.

Photo of disign drawn with powder of a pavement

Photo of temple statue hung with garlands


There are temples of all different sizes in town, on just about every corner. They were all adorned with flowers and filled the air with the scent of incense.

The front of cars, and even rickshaws, were decorated with garlands. I kept taking photos as I walked around town. It was all so beautiful.

At night, the celebrations took a different form. I had just finished my dinner at the Christian hostel where I was staying for the month when I heard loud banging noises from outside. People at the hostel told me that they were the sounds of fire-crackers and fireworks.

I went outside to have a look but felt a little scared to venture out onto the street where I could hear endless banging and cracking coming from.

Photo of a white care decorated with an orange garland across the front radiator grille

I ended up staying in the large garden of the hostel and sat looking up at the night sky, occasionally being illuminated with fireworks against the backdrop of the continuous sound of firecrackers. The excitement continued all night.

It was another memorable visit to Pune.