Diwali, a celebrated and cherished festival in India, holds significance as it symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. It’s a time when families come together, homes are adorned with diyas (oil lamps), and sweets are exchanged.

Diwali also presents an opportunity to delve into India’s cultural heritage. If you plan for the best places to visit in India on Diwali vacation, we have curated a list of the top 11 destinations to explore during this festival.

These are the best places to visit in India, where you can enjoy every bit of festivity.

  1. Varanasi

Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh offers a Diwali experience that’s truly unforgettable. It is one of the top places to visit in India on Diwali vacation.

In Varanasi, Diwali transcends beyond being a festival of lights; it is also an occasion for spirituality and devotion. The city is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, and during Diwali, it is said that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati bestow blessings upon its residents.

One of the awe-inspiring experiences during Diwali in Varanasi is witnessing the grand Ganga Aarti ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat. This daily ritual takes on a magnificent scale during Diwali festivities. As the sun starts descending on the horizon, countless earthen lamps or diyas illuminate the ghats, offering breathtaking beauty.

The sight of thousands of lamps flickering in unison against the backdrop of the sacred Ganges River is awe-inspiring.

During Diwali celebrations in Varanasi, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, becomes a prime festival point. The temple is adorned with flowers and lights, attracting devotees who come to offer prayers and seek blessings from Lord Shiva.

Pro tip: Don’t miss out on relishing the delicious street food and exploring the lanes and markets for Diwali shopping.

Where to stay

Our recommendations,

  • Oyo Flagship 47006 Hotel Magadh Palace ($29 per night**)
  • Hotel Plaza Inn ($43 per night**)
  • East View ($54 per night**)

Get 15% off on hotels with “BNG15”. [T & C apply]

Book Now

  1. Jaipur

It is another popular place to visit in India on Diwali vacation. The Pink City celebrates Diwali with grandeur. The city’s palaces and forts glow brightly as they get illuminated while the markets buzz with shoppers.

Diwali in Jaipur is an extravaganza like no other. The iconic palaces and forts of the city, including Amber Fort, City Palace, Hawa Mahal and Jaigarh Fort, are adorned with thousands of twinkling lights and vibrant decorations. The warm radiance of diyas (oil lamps) and lanterns transform these marvels into a captivating spectacle of light and color.

Visiting these sites during Diwali provides an opportunity to delve into the city’s heritage while immersing oneself in the festive ambience. Many of these monuments also host events and light shows that offer an enchanting experience.

Pro tip: You should try out the authentic Rajasthani cuisine at Chokhi Dhani

Where to stay

Our recommendations,

  • Oyo 8412 Hotel Maharani Prime ($12 per night**)
  • Oyo 81045 Collection O Hotel My Stay Retreat ($13 per night**)
  • Oyo Townhouse 132 Hotel The Grand ($19 per night**)

Book for two nights and get one night free with “FREENIGHT”. [T & C apply]

Book Now

What are the main attractions to visit in Jaipur during Diwali?

The City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, and Albert Hall Museum are beautifully illuminated during Diwali. The Johari Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar are famous for shopping.

 

  1. Ayodhya

Our list of the top places to visit in India on Diwali vacation won’t be completed without mentioning this mythological city.

Ayodhya, a city deeply rooted in mythology and spirituality, holds reverence in India. Diwali festivities in Ayodhya carry significance as they commemorate Lord Rama’s return to the city after his 14-year exile and his victory over the demon king Ravana.

During Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya, one of the highlights is the enchanting Ram Lila performances. These captivating reenactments of Lord Rama’s life and his epic battle with Ravana take place at locations across the city, featuring sets and costumes.

Ayodhya is situated on the banks of the sacred Sarayu River. During Diwali, the ghats along the river are illuminated with thousands of oil lamps, creating a stunning visual spectacle. Devotees also participate by taking dips in the river and offering prayers to seek blessings from Lord Rama and Goddess Sita.

Book Now

  1. Amritsar

Moving on to Amritsar, Punjab, celebrating Diwali is truly an experience. The Golden Temple, or Sri Harmandir Sahib, takes the stage during Diwali festivities in Amritsar. Though stunning throughout the year, it exudes a magnificent aura during this joyous festival.

The entire complex is filled with oil lamps and colorful decorations, creating a breathtaking sight.

One remarkable and heartwarming aspect of the Golden Temple is its langar, a kitchen that provides meals to all visitors regardless of their background. During Diwali, the langar serves a larger number of people, and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure everyone is well-fed.

Pro tip: Take some time to explore the markets and savor the delicious Punjabi cuisine.

  1. Kolkata

Kolkata, known as India’s cultural capital, celebrates Diwali in a vibrant way that reflects the city’s rich heritage and diverse traditions. While Diwali is primarily associated with worshipping Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha in parts of India, Kolkata holds a reverence for Goddess Kali during this festival.

The city comes alive with crafted idols of this compassionate deity. Kali Puja usually takes place on the night, as Diwali and involves elaborate rituals, devotional songs and artistic expressions.

One place to experience Kali Puja’s enthusiasm is the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. Situated on the banks of the Hooghly River, this temple shines beautifully during Diwali.

During Diwali, devotees from all over the city and beyond throng to offer their prayers and seek the blessings of Goddess Kali.

Can I visit the Kali Puja pandals in Kolkata during Diwali?

Yes, the Kali Puja pandals are open to the public during Diwali. You can visit them to admire the intricate decorations and witness the rituals.

Where to stay

Our recommendations for hotels in Kolkata,

  • Oyo 67194 Hotel Paradise ($26 per night**)
  • Oyo 9543 Rajarhat ($29 per night**)
  • Hotel Park Victoria ($32.44 per night**)

Book for two nights and get one night free with “FREENIGHT”.[ T & C apply]

Book Now

  1. Udaipur

Udaipur is certainly one of the top places to visit in India on Diwali vacation. Located in Rajasthan, this City of Lakes shines brighter during the festival of Diwali.

Its tranquil lakes, historical palaces and charming streets make it an ideal destination to celebrate this occasion.

Enjoy a scenic boat ride on Lake Pichola, explore the City Palace, and stroll through the old city. As evening falls, witness the captivating spectacle of fireworks illuminating both the City Palace and Jag Mandir.

  1. Delhi

Delhi, the capital city of India, Diwali celebrations are marked with enthusiasm. Historical landmarks like India Gate, Qutub Minar, Red Fort and Lotus Temple come alive with thousands of lights and decorative motifs.

The breathtaking beauty of these sites attracts both locals and tourists who are captivated by their grandeur.

A must-visit during Diwali in Delhi is Akshardham Temple, a tribute to Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The temple complex is adorned with decorations and is also illuminated with colors. Special musical fountain shows and cultural performances are organized during this time to enhance the experience.

Dilli Haat hosts a Diwali bazaar which offers a range of traditional items for sale, such as candles, diyas (traditional lamps), rangoli designs (colorful floor art), handicrafts and clothing.

Delhi hosts fairs in different parts of the city, offering a delightful mix of entertainment, cultural performances, games and a wide array of food stalls. The Blind School Diwali Fair and Sunder Nagar Diwali Fair are particularly popular among the locals.

Diwali celebrations in Delhi are incomplete without fireworks. As the night sky illuminates with colors and crackling fireworks, families and friends gather to cherish these mesmerizing displays, creating memories for everyone.

 

Where to stay

Our recommendations for top hotels in Delhi,

  • Oyo Flagship 23252 Near Artemis Hospital ($12 per night**)
  • Capital O 64120 Hotel Noida Suites ($14 per night**)
  • Silverkey Executive Stays 42933 Medanta Corporate ($15 per night**)

Get 25% off on your stays with “ICCHTL25”. [T & C apply]

Book Now

  1. Goa

 

Goa is truly one of the best places to visit in India at any time of the year.

While Goa has a sizable Christian population, Diwali is celebrated with enthusiasm by the Hindu community. In homes and temples, you can witness traditional rituals such as lighting diyas (oil lamps) and performing Lakshmi Puja (Goddess of Wealth worship).

Shree Mahalasa Narayani Temple in Mardol and Shree Damodar Temple in Zambaulim stand out as places where prayers and aarti ceremonies mark the celebration of Diwali.

During Diwali, local markets in Goa come alive with the sale of festive goodies, including diyas, candles, rangoli colors, and decorations. You can explore the Anjuna Flea Market, Mapusa Market, and the local bazaars for traditional Diwali shopping.

Many tourists and locals come together at the beaches in North Goa to enjoy the fireworks displays. The combination of the night sky, the soothing sound of waves, and the vibrant colors of fireworks provide an experience.

Where to Stay

Our recommendations for top hotels could be,

  • Bluebell Beach Resort ($27 per night**)
  • The Grand Leoney Resort ($29 per night**)
  • The Queeny ($30 per night**)

Book for two nights and get one night free with “FREENIGHT”. [T & C apply]

Book Now

 

  1. Kochi

Experience a serene Diwali amidst the backwaters and greenery of Kerala.

Though Kerala doesn’t celebrate Diwali as fervently as some other states, it offers a peaceful getaway. Enjoy a houseboat ride through the backwaters, explore the significant Fort Kochi, and relish the delectable cuisine.

 

  1. Rishikesh

Seek a spiritual and adventurous Diwali in the yoga capital of the world.

Attend a Ganga Aarti at Parmarth Niketan, dip in the holy Ganges, and explore the tranquil ashrams. For adventure enthusiasts, try white-water rafting or trekking in the nearby Himalayas; for those seeking adventure, indulge in thrilling white-water rafting. Go on an exhilarating trekking expedition through the Himalayas.

 

  1. Mumbai

The vibrant city that never sleeps celebrates Diwali with unparalleled enthusiasm.

One iconic highlight of Mumbai’s Diwali festivities is Marine Drive, adorned with lights resembling a necklace by nightfall. This picturesque promenade along the Arabian Sea comes alive with thousands of dazzling lights during Diwali celebrations.

Additionally, you can witness lights and decorations embellishing another landmark, The Gateway of India, during this season.

During the festival of Diwali, the Siddhivinayak Temple is beautifully decorated with ornaments and a multitude of lit lamps. Devotees flock to the temple to offer their prayers and seek blessings from Lord Ganesha.

In Mumbai, markets like Crawford Market, Dadar Flower Market and Zaveri Bazaar are bustling with shoppers during Diwali. These markets showcase an array of Diwali-related items such as clay lamps (diyas) colorful rangoli patterns, traditional clothing, exquisite jewellery and delicious sweets.

Where to stay

Our recommendations,

  • Hotel Panchvati Residency ($32 per night**)
  • Fab Hotel Aksa International Andheri East ($36 per night**)
  • Hotel Alfa International ($49 per night**)

Get 15% off on your stays with “BNG15”[T & C apply]

Book Now

 

Conclusion

Diwali is a magical time to visit India. The entire country comes alive with colors, gleaming lights and joyous celebrations.

Whether you decide to immerse yourself in the streets of Varanasi or experience the tranquil beauty of Kerala’s backwaters, you are guaranteed a Diwali vacation. The above 11 places to visit in India on Diwali Vacation will certainly make your holiday more enchanting and memorable.

Take this opportunity to embrace India’s culture, spirituality and warmth during this occasion while creating everlasting memories that will stay with you forever. Remember to honor customs and traditions while enjoying a delightful Diwali holiday!

Plan your Diwali vacation with Bookit N Go and get 15% off on hotels.

FAQs

Is it safe for solo travellers to visit India during Diwali?

India can be safe for solo travellers, but it’s important to take general safety precautions, especially during crowded festivals. You should inform someone of your itinerary and stay in well-traveled areas.

Are there any offbeat destinations for Diwali in India?

Yes, you can explore offbeat places like Rann of Kutch (Gujarat) for a unique desert experience or Puri (Odisha) to witness the famous Jagannath Rath Yatra during Diwali.