The list starts from 2015, a religious celebration of the festival of love and lights- Deepawali. Well, I’m not a religious person who would indulge in ritualistic prayers and pooja on any festival. But what started as travelling during this season to utilise my unused leaves combined with maintenance shutdown period at my workplace, has somehow religiously stuck on as a ritual of travelling to a new place, every year.
Circa 2015- Tamil Nadu:
My brother and I ventured out on our backpacking roadtrip to Tamil Nadu, Kumbakonam to Pondicherry. Well, this was an adventurous start I guess, we had to cut short our trip due to a cyclone that had battered the east coast. Result: Crazy floods and crazy drive through the flooded areas. On the main festival day, we had reached Chidambaram- a must read post about our experience. A bad one then, a memorable one now.
Circa 2016- Assam:
This was my first solo trip ever and the first time in the north-eastern part of India. After exploring Meghalaya, I had tagged along with a couple of other fellow travellers. We happened to experience one of the most beautiful Deepawali sights. First, the drive through the lamp lit national highway, then watching the best sunset over river Brahmaputra onboard a ferry to Majuli and the crazy ass lamp lit welcome on the Majuli island.
Circa 2017- Karnataka:
After a crazy long year of travelling across India, my friends and I decided to have a simple deepawali roadtrip, closer home in the western ghats. We drove to the famous Agumbe ghats and the places around.
Circa 2018- Himachal Pradesh:
One of THE best solo trips of my life, where I couldn’t find a single traveller to tag along through the entire trip. This thus, became a thorough personal and local experience in the Spiti valley. On the day of Deepawali, I was on my way back with a brief stopover at Shimla. A trip that made an impact on me, perhaps forever.
Circa 2019- Kerala:
A solo weekend exploring Varkala, it was a short one but yet overwhelming. It was a happy-hippy trip, in a true sense.
Circa 2020- Karnataka:
Fears of travelling afar due to Covid-19, personal commitments and taking advantage of working from home, this was the longest duration I spent in my hometown in the last 15 years. Quite unlikely to mention the highlights, but the Deepawali of 2020 indeed tops all the above from the list.
Circa 2021 – West Bengal: This was a trip that was planned on a whim by 2 of my friends and me, where my brother joined in at the last minute. It was a completely new kind of Deepawali celebration which we experienced during trip. Large pandals setup at every 100meters to celebrate Kali Pooja was something unknown to us about Siliguri in the state of West Bengal. That night, we reached ‘Manebhanjang’ a small town located at the entrance of the Sandakphu trek to the Singalila ridge, the highest point of West Bengal. It was yet another experience to witness an amalgamation of Gurkha, Buddhist, and Hindu culture in the way this town celebrates its festival of lights. Much like the carol singers during Christmas, people form into small teams and go from door to door singing, dancing, and spreading joy and blessings.
Circa 2022- Saudi Arabia: It’s a first time for me to spend Deepawali out of my home country but still in accordance to my tradition of visiting a new place during the festival. This time, work brought me here. Although there wasn’t much we could do like in India, some shopping for sweets at Indian sweet meat shops was a little bit of home we brought for ourselves while staying away from homeland. But, I feel grateful for this opportunity and experience life has brought to me during this Deepawali that has helped me to grow into a little stronger person I was when left India.
What are your stories about celebrating Deepawali / Diwali? What do you do normally?