Diwali is usually celebrated twenty days after the *Vijayadashami (Dussehra, Dasara, Dasain) festival, with Dhanteras, or the regional equivalent, marking the first day of the festival when celebrants prepare by cleaning their homes and making decorations on the floor, such as rangolis. The second day is *Naraka Chaturdashi.
The third day is the day of *Lakshmi Puja and the darkest night of the traditional month. In some parts of India, the day after Lakshmi Puja is marked with the Govardhan Puja and *Balipratipada (Padwa). Some Hindu communities mark the last day as Bhai Dooj or the regional equivalent, which is dedicated to the bond between sister and brother, while other Hindu and Sikh craftsmen communities mark this day as *Vishwakarma Puja and observe it by performing maintenance in their work spaces and offering prayers.
The darkest night is the apex of the celebration and coincides with the second half of October or early November in the Gregorian calendar.
There’s no contest: Mumbai looks its best and brightest during Diwali. Lanterns, fairy lights, lamps and everything that glows and shines is on every other window and ledge in the city. Drive through Juhu, past pretty homes of pretty people; down Bandra, unusually empty but all lit up; over the sea-link for a view of the twinkling shoreline and down to the island city, where the CST building will wear its Diwali colours. For a more serene experience, head to Banganaga tank, which comes alive with hundreds of tiny floating lamps.
Some of the most spectacular display of fireworks takes place at Marine Drive and Charni Road. From rockets to sky lanterns, it’s all happening here. Park yourself anywhere along the stretch for a seat to this brilliant display. Or book yourself a table at one of the many sea-facing restaurants and bars along the stretch and watch the Queen’s Necklace sparkle brighter than ever. Up north, Worli Seaface and Shivaji Park also pack some serious pyrotechnics.