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The ultimate guide to experiencing Diwali in Varanasi

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Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. Among all the cities in India, Varanasi holds a special significance during Diwali. Known as the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi is a place where traditions and rituals are deeply ingrained in the culture of its people. Experiencing Diwali in Varanasi is a truly unforgettable experience that will leave you mesmerized and in awe. In this ultimate guide, we will take you through everything you need to know to make the most of your Diwali celebration in Varanasi.

History of Diwali in Varanasi

Diwali is celebrated across India, but the way it is celebrated in Varanasi is distinctive. The city is known for its ancient temples, ghats, and the Ganga River. The history of Diwali in Varanasi dates back to centuries ago when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. The people of Ayodhya welcomed him with lamps and fireworks, which is why Diwali is also known as the festival of lights.

In Varanasi, Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. The entire city is decorated with lights, candles, and diyas. People clean and decorate their homes, wear new clothes, and prepare delicious sweets to offer to the gods. Families come together to celebrate and exchange gifts with each other. The atmosphere in Varanasi during Diwali is filled with joy, positivity, and spirituality.

Things to do in Varanasi during Diwali

1. Visit the ghats: Varanasi is famous for its ghats, and during Diwali, they come alive with lights and decorations. Take a boat ride on the Ganga River to view the ghats illuminated with diyas and candles. Witness the aarti ceremonies performed at the ghats during Diwali, which are a sight to behold.

2. Explore the temples: Varanasi is home to numerous temples dedicated to various gods and goddesses. During Diwali, these temples are adorned with flowers, lights, and decorations. Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, and the Durga Temple to witness the grand celebrations and rituals.

3. Attend cultural programs: Diwali is a time for cultural celebrations in Varanasi. Attend dance performances, music concerts, and other cultural programs organized in various parts of the city. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and traditions of Varanasi during Diwali.

4. Shop for Diwali goodies: Varanasi is a shopper’s paradise during Diwali. Explore the local markets to buy traditional clothes, jewelry, handicrafts, and other festive items. Don’t forget to pick up some delicious sweets, snacks, and gifts for your loved ones.

5. Light fireworks: Fireworks are an integral part of Diwali celebrations in Varanasi. Join the locals in lighting fireworks and sparklers to add to the festive atmosphere. Enjoy the spectacle of fireworks lighting up the night sky over the city.

6. Participate in puja rituals: Diwali is a time for religious ceremonies and prayers in Varanasi. Participate in the puja rituals at the temples and ghats to seek blessings for prosperity, happiness, and good fortune. Make offerings of flowers, sweets, and incense to the gods and goddesses.

7. Try local cuisine: Indulge in the delicious local cuisine of Varanasi during Diwali. Taste the traditional sweets like laddoos, jalebis, and pedas, as well as savory snacks like chaat and samosas. Don’t miss out on the special Diwali dishes prepared by the locals.

Tips for celebrating Diwali in Varanasi

1. Dress appropriately: Wear traditional Indian clothes like sarees, suits, or kurta-pajamas during Diwali in Varanasi. Avoid wearing revealing or overly casual attire, as it may be considered disrespectful.

2. Respect local customs: Be mindful of the customs and traditions of Varanasi during Diwali. Follow the rules and regulations at the temples and ghats, and respect the privacy and beliefs of the locals.

3. Stay safe: Be cautious while lighting fireworks and sparklers, especially if you are doing it for the first time. Keep a safe distance from the fireworks, and handle them carefully to avoid accidents.

4. Book accommodations in advance: Varanasi gets crowded during Diwali, so make sure to book your accommodations well in advance. Stay at a hotel or guesthouse near the ghats to have easy access to the Diwali festivities.

5. Hire a local guide: To make the most of your Diwali experience in Varanasi, consider hiring a local guide who can show you around the city, explain the customs and rituals, and help you navigate the crowded streets.


Experiencing Diwali in Varanasi is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will fill your heart with joy, beauty, and spirituality. From the vibrant decorations on the ghats to the rhythmic aarti ceremonies, the city comes alive during Diwali in a way that is truly magical. Follow this ultimate guide to immerse yourself in the rich traditions and culture of Varanasi during Diwali, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Celebrate the Festival of Lights in the spiritual capital of India, and let the beauty and positivity of Diwali in Varanasi leave you spellbound.

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