Diwali celebrated countrywide

via Kaumudi published on October 21, 2006

NEW DELHI: People across the country lit lamps, burst crackers and exchanged gifts to celebrate Diwali even as the festive spirit was dimmed in the national capital with traders for the first time refusing to illuminate markets in protest against the sealing drive.

Prayers were offered to the God and Goddess of wealth Ganesh and Lakshmi in northern India and to Goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil in Bengal.

Hundreds of children including the physically-challenged enjoyed the festival of light with President A P J Abdul Kalam at Rashtrapati Bhavan, where he listened to their poems and talked to them of their ambitions.

Lakshminarayan and Kali Bari temples in Gol Market were the hub of celebrations in Delhi with children in particular enjoying the thrills of Diwali Melas and wallowing in sweets, other eatibles and gifts.

Markets did brisk business despite the traders protest against the MCD’s sealing drive and the grip of dengue fever.

Legend has it that Diwali heralds the return of Lord Rama to his throne in Ayodhya after a 14-year exile and slaying of demon king Ravana. It also symbolises Goddess Durga’s penance in search of Lord Shiva’s body, when she transformed into Kali and slayed the demons.

In Ayodhya, devotees visited the important temples of Kanak Mahal, Hanuman Garhi and Janki Mahal while in Varanasi an hour’s rain and hail dampened the festival of firecrackers.

Festivities in the financial capital Mumbai began a few days before Diwali and households today performed Lakshmi puja, starting with ritual baths and partaking of sweets.

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