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The Lights of Diwali at SUJÁN

Dipavali, or Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the Hindu calendar and is celebrated in the autumnal months, all over India – and especially northern and central India – with gusto. It signifies a triumph of light over darkness or a victory of good and righteousness over evil. The Sanskrit dīpāvali literally means a row or series of lights and references to its celebration can be traced to as far back as 1 BC, over 2000 years ago in the Upanishads. While the reasons for its celebration vary between the many regions of India, “all the stories associated with Deepavali, however, speak of the joy connected with the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil”, according to some anthropologists.

 

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The darkness of the Diwali night is celebrated with a riot of candles, lamps and diyas in Godwar. Local temples in the Jawai region perform special aartis and pujas (religious services of prayer) before the celebrations commence with feasting and the traditional lighting of lamps. Photograph by Vedant Thite.

 

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A Rabari cups a diya in the palms of his hands before placing it in a patch of darkness. Diwali is a particularly celebratory affair for our local communities and signals a change in climate as well as an ushering of prosperity. Photograph by Vedant Thite.
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One of our guests try out the mehndi, intricate patterns made with henna that dries out, leaving behind the saffron design which leaves know trace after a few days. Normally customary during weddings, mehndi is also applied to the hands and arms on festive occasions such as Diwali. Photograph by Vedant Thite.

 

 

Ranging over five days, Diwali night falls smack in the centre of this holiday period and is always the night of Amavasya – or the moonless night. For many, the night of Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama from exile and following the rescue of his wife Sita from the Demon-King Ravana. For others, the night of Diwali is about honouring Laxmi – the Goddess of Wealth – who chose Vishnu as her husband on the same night.

 

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As eventide draws, The Serai comes to life for an evening of light, solitude and music to celebrate the occasion. From the SUJÁN Archives.
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Members of the team at The Serai set about creating a floral Rangoli using local flowers. From the SUJÁN Archives.
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One of the many Rangolis in traditional, geometric designs made my members of our teams. From the SUJÁN Archives.

 

At SUJÁN, Diwali means rolling out the celebratory spirit and really having a free run with our lanterns, lamps and diyas, across our sites. Traditional music, performed by the Manganiars – the troubadours of the desert – fills the night air and mashaals light the pathways. While the atmosphere at camps and palace are usually always festive and nocturnal feasting is a norm, Diwali nights – year on year – witness the spirit of conviviality, well-being and spontaneous fun is had in oodles by everyone travelling through on this auspicious and revelry-filled night that is such a major event in India’s calendar.

 

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Sher Bagh’s “Jungle Bar” appropriately dressed in light for the Diwali Amavasya, the night of no moon. From the SUJÁN Archives.
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In concert with nature. The Manganiars brought the evening alive with the sound of their music, their voices and their timeless renditions. From the SUJÁN Archives.

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