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Essence of India (with Diwali)

We're pleased to announce our Essence of India tour for the coming 2018/2019 season. This women-only tour is packed with all the colours, scents and lights of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra.

But for a special treat, set your sights on Diwali (one of India's most important festivals) departing November 4, 2018. We'll celebrate in Agra with our local friends and take part in an authentic ceremony, complete with fireworks. Booking is open until September 15th and there are limited spaces, so do not miss out on this thrilling, 8 day trip!

Diwali has been celebrated in India since the earliest times - typically falling after the summer harvest in the Hindu month of Kartika. As early as the second part of first millennium, the festival has been found described in the ancient Sanskrit Padma Purana text. Diwali marks the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

To prepare for Diwali, people clean their homes and decorate them with coloured lights and oil lamps. It's also a peak time for shopping, as people buy new clothes, gifts, appliances and housewares for the family. Sweets, dry fruits, and other specialties, depending on the region, are purchased to share with friends and family. Indians of all religions light small, clay "diyas" (lamps) representing parts of the sun and the story of Lord Rama. Women and young girls create "rangoli" - intricate designs in coloured sand on the floors and everyone helps with preparation of "patakhe" (fireworks) as this is a mandatory part of the celebration.

Diwali is illuminated by coloured exterior lights on homes and businesses as all over India, as this joyous holiday is celebrated with enthusiasm.

See the video below for an in-depth look at the fascinating festival of Diwali.

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