Experience Diwali, India's Festival of Lights, firsthand with a local family and knowledgeable guide in Mumbai. Learn about this ancient Hindu holiday as you shop for silk cotton clothes, celebrate in a local home, observe temple prayers, light firecrackers and enjoy a traditional Indian dinner. Round-trip hotel transport is included on this small-group tour, limited to 12, to ensure a personalized experience.
Please note: This seasonal tour runs annually in October. The dates are subject to change.
India's annual Festival of Lights, known as Diwali, is celebrated in the late fall following the harvest, when people purchase new clothes, pray for prosperity, light fireworks and share an abundant feast.
During Small Diwali, people decorate their homes with clay lamps, or diyas. The next day, Diwali is celebrated to honor the Hindu god Lord Rama's defeat of the demon king Ravana, and residents illuminate their homes and streets to honor this victory of good over evil.
After hotel pickup in the late afternoon on your selected day, your guide takes your small group to shop for Indian garments before the celebrations begin. As you travel through the city, note the open doors and windows at homes and Hindu temples, where people allow prosperity to pass through with prayer offerings to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Lord Ganesh.
You'll pass on the overcrowded marketplace and head to a specialty shop known for clothing and other sustainable products made by rural artisans using traditional skills and hand-based processes. Women can try on silk cotton saris, skirts, and dupattas (long scarves); men can dress up in kurtas (long tunics) and nehru jackets. Shop assistants can help you decide what to purchase, but you won't have to bargain since everything has a fixed price.
After shopping, head to the home of a local family and experience a traditional welcome with a beverage. Learn more about Diwali's history and its associated festivities as you sip chai tea and enjoy light Indian snacks.
Powdered colors are poured on the floor to create intricate designs called rangoli, and females can opt to have the palms of their hands decorated with henna in traditional Indian design patterns (own expense; see Additional Info).
For dinner, your small group shares an authentic Indian feast with the host family, enjoying a selection of dishes accompanied by rice, Indian bread, salad, curd and pickle followed by desserts. When darkness falls, watch a fireworks display light up the skyline and join the celebration as locals light firecrackers in the streets.
Sated with Indian food and festivities, you're returned to your hotel in Mumbai.