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    Diwali (Deepavali) (Deepawali)
    Diwali (Deepavali) (Deepawali) 
    India is a melting pot of races and religions. Every religion has its own unique style of celebration. But Diwali (Deepawali), the Festival of Light, is celebrated with fervor and gaiety among all races and religions. The festival symbolizes unity in diversity. The celebration of this five-day festival commences on Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdasi and ends on Kartika Shudda Vijiya. 

    Hindus all over the world celebrate Deepawali with great enthusiasm. This is a major Hindu festival honouring Mother Lakshmi the goddess of wealth. Diwali is a holy tradition, not to be put in the shade. It symbolizes the victory of light over darkness; darkness refers to ignorance and light refers to knowledge. Celebrated joyously all over India, it is a festival of wealth and prosperity. 
    Deepavali is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra, on Amavasya - the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin (Aasho) in (Oct/ Nov) every year. 

    Diwali is a festival synonymous with celebrations in India and is an occasion for jubilation and togetherness. This is an occasion for people of all religions. At the metaphysical level, Deepawali is a festival signifying the victory of good over evil. People believe that the latter is destroyed and reduced to ashes by fireworks. This festival is celebrated on a grand scale in almost all regions of India and is looked upon mainly as the beginning of a New Year. 

    On this day of Diwali (Deepavali) people light small oil lamps (called diyas) and place them around their homes, in courtyards, gardens, verandahs, on the walls and also on the roof tops. In cities, candles are substituted by diyas; and among the riches, candles are made to substitute for fashionable lights. The celebration of the festival is customarily accompanied by the exchange of sweets and lighting crackers.

    Diwali (Deepavali) (Deepawali)
    On the night of Diwali, all the shops & offices are decorated with electrical bulbs of various colors. They are filled to capacity in this festive season. People visit their friends and relatives and present them sweets. Many people make "rangoli" inside & outside their house. Rangoli is a pattern which is made on the floor, normally by coloured powder, but in the house it is made with paint.
    Diwali (Deepavali) (Deepawali) In the evening the family prays to Laskmi, the goddess of wealth. Then people put diyas (oil lamps) all around the house. About 8.00 pm the fireworks start. This is the time when the whole country is lit up and fireworks continue uptill midnight.

    In north India, Deepavali is celebrated as an auspicious occasion of Rama's homecoming from fourteen years of exile and also after defeating Ravana and his coronation as king; In Gujarat, the festival is celebrated to honour goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and in Bengal, it is related with goddess Kali. Everywhere it is celebrated with the same spirit and signifies the renewal of life.

     Diwali is also celebrated outside India mainly in Britain, U.S.A., Guyana, Fiji, Malaysia, Nepal, Mauritius, Myanmar, Singapore, Srilanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Africa, and Australia among the Hindus world over. Whatever may be the legend behind the festival but people celebrate it with great enthusiasm. In this festive season people exchange sweets, wear new clothes and buy precious items for celebration and enjoyment.
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    ~~Diwali Sweets Recipe~~
    Diwali In Delhi from Rajesh Chopra

    How to do Diwali Lakshmi Puja

    CLEANING YOURSELF
    You must take a bath, and wear new, or at least clean, clothes, before starting to arrange for the actualceremony. The yajamana, should sit facing the east if the icon faces the west (purvabhimukham upaviseva). If the icon faces the east, you should sit facing the west (pascimabhimukham upaviseva). 
    Kalasa (pot)
    This is a pot in the shape of an expanded vase (a lotacan be used in place of Kalash). Place water inside the Kalash. Place thebunch of 5 or 5 Mango Leaves inside the neck and place a saucer of rice ontop of the Kalash. (This Saucer represents the MOON). 

    Place One big diya,filled with ghee, on the plate of rice resting on top of the Kalash (this represents THE SUN). Together they represent MAHA LAXMI. It is customary to setthe pot on some grains of unbroken rice. This pot represents Varuna, the God ofthe Ocean. AND LAXMI as Mother Earth. 

    Place the other big diya on your right hands side -this one is for arti the wicks should be of the rolled up type. Another diya should be kept on the side next to Ganesh. This can be a small one, with apulled up wick. This is for the purpose of performing arati later on. It should be placed on a small platter or tari on some rice. 

    Place a lower platform before the one on which the icons and the big diyas are placed. The red cloth should be spread on thislower platform. Now fill the other 8 (diyas) with ghee and wicks and place them around the Kalash in a Half circle with the circle towards you. Each diya is placed on a rice platform.

    PERFORM SODASAMATRIKA PUJANAM FIRST
    (THE WORSHIP OF THE SIXTEEN MOTHERS) 

    The 16 mothers are represented on the platform by 16 small heaps of rice and a NUTMEG on top. Bowing to the 16 mothers,take rice, flowers and fragrance (atar) in your hands and say: 

    GOURI PADMA SACIMEDHA SAVITRI VIJAYA JAYA DEVASENA SVADHA 
    SVAHA MATARO LOKAMATARAH HRSTIH PUSTISTATHATUSTI ATMANAH-
    KULADEVATAH GANESE NADHI KAPUJ YAH URDD HOU PUJYASCA SODA SAH 

    Gouri, Padma, Saci, Medha, Savitri, Vijaya, Jaya,Devasena, Svadha, Svaha, Mataro,Lokamatrah, Hrstih, Pustistatha, Tusti, Atmakuladevataare the sixteen venerable mothers. 

    Take a handful of rice, and pouring it through yourfingers on the red cloth. This is the representation for various deities as explained below: Sprinkle the flowers, rice and fragrance (atar).

    MAHALAXMI PUJANAM (THE WORSHIP OF MAHALAKSMI)

    It is only now that Laxmi herself gets worshipped.Start on this confidently and happily. 

    DHYANAM (MEDITATION) 

    SRI MAHA-LAXMI STOTRAM

    Aum Namaste-astu mahaa-maaye sree peethe sur-poojite,Shankha chakra gaddaa-haste, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute. 

    O Great Mother, abode of fortune, Who artworshipped by the Devas, I salute Thee; O Mahaa Laxmi, wielder of conch,disc and mace, obeisance to Thee. 

    Aum Namaste garu-daaroode, kolaa-sura bhayankari;Sarva paapa hare devi, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute. 

    My salutations to Thee, Who ridest the Garuda andart a terror to the demon Kola; O Mahaa Laxmi remover of all miseries, myobeisance to Thee. 

    Aum Sarvagye sarva varde, sarva dustha bhayankari;Sarva duhkha hare devi, Mahaa Laxmi namo-astute. 

    Salutations to Thee, Who knowest all, The Giver of all boons, a terror to all the wicked, remover of all sorrow, my obscene to Thee. 

    Aum siddhi buddhi prade devi. bhukti-muktipradaayini; Mantra moorte sadaa devi, Mahaa Laxmi namo astute. 

    O Goddess of Wealth, giver of intelligence andsuccess and of worldly enjoyment and liberation, Thou hast always the mystic symbols as Thy forms, O Mahaa Laxmi, obeisance to Thee. 

    Aum Aadhyanta rahite devi, aadhya-shakte maheshvari;Yogaje yoga-sambhoote, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute. 

    O Mother Maheshvari, without a beginning or anend; O Primeval Energy, born of Yoga; O Mahaa Laxmi, obeisance to Thee. 

    Aum Stoola suksham mahaa rovdre, mahaa shaktemahodaye; Mahaa paapa hare devi, Mahaa Laxmi namo-astute. 

    O Mahaa Laxmi, who art both gross and subtle,most terrible, great power, great prosperity and great remover of allsins, obeisance to Thee. 

    Aum Padmaa sanas-thite devi, pare brahma svaroopini;Para meshi jagan-maatar, Mahaa Laxmi namo-astute. 

    O Devi, seated on the lotus, who art The SupremeBrahman, The Great Lord and Mother of the Universe, O Mahaa Lakshmi, obeisanceto Thee. 

    Aum Svetaambar dhare devi, naanaa lankaar bhooshite;Jagat stithte jagan maatar, Mahaa Laxmi namo-astute. 

    O Devi, robed in white garments, and decked invarious kinds of ornaments, Thou art The Mother of the Universe and its support;O Mahaa Laxmi, obeisance to Thee. 

    Aum Mahaa Laksham-yashtak stotram, yahahpathed-bhakti maan narah; Sarva siddhim vaapnoti, Mahaa Lakshmee prasaad taha. 

    Whoever with devotion recite this hymn to SriMahaa Laxmi, composed in eight stanzas, attains all success through the Grace ofMahaa Laxmi Devi. 

    Take flowers or unbroken grains of rice in yourhands. Meditate upon the goddess, saying: 

    YA SA PADMA SANASTHA VIPULA KATI TATI PADMA PATRAYAT AKSI
    GAM BHIRA VARTANA BHISTANA BHARANA MITA SUBHRA VASTROTTARIYA
    YA LAKSMIR DIVYA RUPA IRMANI GANA KHA CITAIH SNA PITAHEMA KUMBH AIH
    SA NITYAM PADMA HASTA MAMA VASATU GRHE SARVA MANGALYAYUKTA SWAHA 

    Laksmi who is seated on a lotus, has eyes as wideas lotus petals, massive hips, deep navel, and heave breasts, wears white upperand lower garments, wears jewelry, is bathed from a golden pitcher, carries alotus in her hand, and is associated with every auspicious sign, let her residein my house. 

    Drop the flowers and the rice at the feet of the goddess. 

    AVAHANAM (INVOCATION)

    Now you have to invoke Laxmi. Avahanam is the act of invoking her. Join your hands with palms upwards, only the little fingers touching ( with open palms). Make the usual gesture of welcoming guests in, andinvite Laxmi to the household, office or factory where she is going to be worshipped and say: 

    OM SARVA LOKASYA JANANIM SULA HASTAM TRILO CANAMSARVADE VAMA YIMI SAM,DEVI MAVA HAYA MY AHAM DEVIM AVAHA YAMI SWAHA 

    I invoke the mother of the three worlds, the three eyed one with the spear in her hand, in whom all the gods reside. I invoke the goddess. 

    Now, Kalash Puja: 

    KALASH (VARUNA) PUJA IS THE RE-CREATION OF THE EARTHLY YOURSELF AS BRAMHA

    Fill the kalasha with water. Offer sandalwood powder,flowers and tulasi to decorate it. Place a coconut on top of the vessel and putyour palms over the top of it while chanting the following mantras: 

    THE KALASH REPRESENTS THE RE-CREATION OF THE NEWEARTH OR NEW KALAPURSHA BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE OLD EARTH OR OLDLIFESTYLE ON EARTH 

    KALASHASYA MUKHAE VISHNUHU KANTAE RUDRAHASAMAASHRITAHAMULAE TATRA STHITHO BRAHMA MADHYAE MAATRAGANAHASMRITAHA 

    We worship the kalasha (vessel above which the coconut is placed) invoking Mahavishnu at the mouth of the vessel. We invokeLord Rudra (an aspect of Shiva) at the neck of the kalasha and Brahma at thebase of the vessel. We invoke the Universal Mother Goddess and Her retinue in midst of the kalasha. Thus the male and female trinities are invoked. Salutations! 

    AUM AAJIGHRI KALASHAM MAHYAATVAA-VINSHATVINDAVAHPUNROOJEE-NIVARTASYA SAANAH; SAHASRAMDHUKSHVORU-DHAARAAPAYASVATEE PUNARMAA VISHATAA-DRIYAH. 

    AUM ATRA GANESH VARUNA GAURYA AADI KALSHAA DHISHTITDEVATAASARVEIHAAGACHCHANTU IHA TISHTANTU SUPREETAA VARDAA BHAVANTU.ITI KALASHPRATISHTAA SRI KALASH STHAAPYA SRI KALASH DEVATAA SRIVARUNA DEVATAAYEBHYO NAMAH. 

    AVAHANA - Invocation -Place the following ingredients on a pan leaf and insert into the Kalash
    BY THIS YOU ARE PLACING THE MINERALS AND RESOURCESINSIDE THE NEW EARTH: 

    Chandan (brown Sandalwood powder)
    Panch Amritam (a mixture of 5 ingredients)
    Sindoor (Red Sandalwood powder)
    Pushpam.(White Flowers)
    Hardee (Yellow Tumeric powder)
    Neemam (Neem Leaf)
    Gingelly (White Sesame Seeds)
    Tusi
    Akshat (White Uncooked Rice)
    Yagno Pavitam (Holy Thread)
    Dhan (Unshelled Rice)
    Durwa Grass(Special Grass)
    Lawang (Cloves)
    Naivediam (Mixture of Sugar, Milk Cream & Honey)
    Elaich (Unshelled Cardamom)
    Coins (silver)
    Supari (Betel Nuts)
    Vastram (Cloth of Silk)
    Ritu-Ohal (Grapes or Raisons) 

    AUM YAH PHALY-NEERYAA APHALAA APUSHPAA YAASHCHA PUSHPINI NOH;
    BRIHASPATI PRASOO TAAS TAA NO MUNCHAN TVA GVANG HASAH.

    Tie the thread on the Kalash - kaacha soot or Holythread is to be tied around the neck of the Kalash

    AUM YUVAA SUVAASAAHA PARIBEET-AAGAATSAUSREYAAN-BHAVATIJAAYAMAANAH; 
    TAN DHEERAASAHA KAVAYA UNAYANTI SVAADHYOMANASAADEVAYANTIH. 
    Placing the vegetation on Earth - 5 mango leaves are tied together (or 1 bunch of 5 mango leaves are placedin the Kalash, with the stems falling inside the Kalash 

    KALASH PRARTHANA AUM KALASHSYA MUKHEVISHNU KANTHERUDRAHSAMAASRITAH; 
    MOOLE TATRASTHITO BRAHMAA MADYEMAATRIGANAHSMRITAAHA. 

    THE WORSHIP OF VARUNA

    With flowers in your hands, pray that your Earth has berenewed 

    Now it is the turn of Varuna, the god of the Ocean.Varuna is represented by the water you have taken in the kalasa or pot. SoVarunapujana is also known as kalasapujana. Take some water in your hand andsay: 

    KALASE VARUNAYA NAMAH SWAHA 

    Invoking all the places of pilgrimage in thispot, I worship it and bow to it. 

    NOW THE NINE FORMS OF LAXMI ARE WORSHIPED - THE 8DIYAS AND THE ONEIN THE MIDDLE KNOWN AS MAHALAXMI. 

    Do the following while chanting the mantra: 

    Bring the deity alive - by pouring with a spoon,Panch Amritam (mixture of 5 ingredients)??????.Aum Panch-aaamriten pas-chaach chuddod-ken Shri LaxmiMata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Offering a Seat to the deity...............AumIdam aasaanam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Touching the feet of the deity...........AumPaada-yoha paadyam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Giving deity water to drink...............AumHastayor-arghyam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Purifying area around deity with water.....AumMukhe aachman-eeyam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Energizing the deity with fluid...........AumSnaanaar-tham jalam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Now place all items on a Pan Leaf and offer to each,saying the mantra along: 

    Vastram (Silk Cloth)................ AumVastram Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Kacha Soot (Holy Thread)............AumYajno-paveetam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Attar (Perfume).............................AumGandham Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Chandan (Brown Sandalwood).....AumChandanam prati grihayatam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Sindoor (Red Sandalwood)............AumSindooram Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Hardee (Yellow Tumeric)..............Aumhaldeeyam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Gingelly (White Sesame Seeds)...Aumgingelly Shri Lammi Mata samarapa-yaami swaha 

    Akshat (White Uncooked Rice)....Aumakshataya Shri Lammi Mata samarapa-yaami swaha 

    Dhan (Unshelled Rice).................Aumdhanam Shri Lammi Mata samarapa-yaami swaha 

    Kapoor (Camphor).......................Aumkapoor Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Lawang (Cloves)..........................Aumlavang Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Elaichi (Unshelled Cardamom)......Aumelaichi Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Supari (Betel Nuts)......................Aumtaam-boolam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Ritu-Ohal (Grapes or Raisons)....Aumritu-phalam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Pushpam (White Flower)...............Aumpushpam Maalam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Neemam (Neem Leaf)..................Aumneemam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Tulsi ...............................................Aumtulsee-dalam niveda-yaami Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Durva Grass (Special Grass)........Aumdhubam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Naivediam (Mixture of Sugar, Milk Cream &Honey)..Aum Naivedyam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaamiswaha 

    Coins (silver).............................Aumdakshinaam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    With an incense arti the deity..Aumdhoopamaa-ghraa-payaami Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    With a diya arti the deity........Aumdeepam darsha-yaami Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    Circle the deity with the arti of light.......Aumkarpoor-aaraarti-kayam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha..................................................................Aumpra-dakshinaam Shri Lammi Mata samarpa-yaami swaha 

    "Samarpa-yaami" means not for me but for you God

    Recite Mahalaxmi Bhajan & Aarti after performing this. 
    Kuber Temple


     
    DIWALI FAQ

    What is the meaning of Diwali or Deepawali?
    Diwali is the common term used throughout India to denote this holy- day, but people in South India commonly use the word, Deepawali. 
    Diwali comes from the Sanskrit "Deepawali"-Deepa meaning light, wali meaning row, hence row of lights. Or as otherwise known, festival of lights. People will light 'diyas' or lights of oil, or oil lamps. This is done by using a small brass plates or tiered plates as a lamp and putting oil or ghee (clarified butter) in the plates and putting wick and burning it. Here you can see some pictures of different types of Indian oil lamps. People will light these every morning for puja, and keep lit all day and night through out Diwali.

    How do people celebrate Diwali in India?
    Diwali is the greatest festival. It is celebrated all over India, except by a majority of Malayalees (persons from the state of Kerala). That is because Malayalees celebrate Onam. That is a different festival special to Kerala state. People ready themselves for Diwali sometimes months in advance. The firecrackers (not big ones like westerners see for new years, etc, but small hand held types) begin a month in advance, and nearer to Diwali it is not even possible to think or walk outside without them being burst. (In fact one Diwali when I went to my friends house, a cracker was thrown on the road near to us, hence, it is usually unadvisable to go out on this night, due to these problems.) Diwali is like Christmas for westerners. Diwali means celebration. The pujas (prayers) go on for a week or more, but due to modern times, only one to two days is given for holiday for Diwali.

    What can I do for my Indian friends to show my appreciation and celebrate Diwali with them?
    In India, a common practice is to buy new clothes and present them on Diwali to the person you are giving them to. It doesn't have to be "Indian" clothes, it can be whatever the person likes. It doesn't need to be wrapped. If you want to present it in a holy way, dab your finger in turmeric and place this on the corners of the folds of the garment. It may stain, so it is usually placed on bottom hems. If presenting the gift to elderly Indians, it is a good idea to bend down on your knees and touch their feet with your hands. In addition, offer the gift in the right hand with left hand on the bottom or do not use the left hand. Usually, Indians in US won't take offense to the use of the left hand, since they know the customs here, but in India that is not always the case. Other nice offerings on Diwali are sweets, jewelry, or other household fabrics like towels, linens or blankets.

    In India, Diwali is very commercialized, people spend lots of money on buying new dresses, saris, salvaar kamiz, pavada davani (skirt and top), lengha, dhotis, kurta pajama, etc for the girls and boys, men and women. People even buy new gifts for the newlyweds. Diwali is traditionally a time that the newlyweds come to their inlaws, in particular the newlyweds go to the bride's family home to collect gifts, including relatively inexpensive gifts from sweets and clothes to very expensive gifts like gold, cars and even land and property.

    What are some religious aspects of Diwali?
    Though I understand that Diwali is celebrated differently in different parts of India, traditions can span all over India. It is generalized that people in South India usually take oil baths in the morning. Puja in South India is more associated with Laksmi, while in North India Puja is more associated with Ram (to have returned to Ayodhya) or with Goddess Kali. However, on Diwali day, families wake up at 4am all over India. 

    However, there is one tradition which is special to the state of West Bengal (Calcutta is in this state), they have special pujas for Kali. It is even said that in these pujas they use fish
    Kuber Temple


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