Fireworks lit the sky and houses wore a festive look decorated with earthen lamps and multi-colour 'rangolis' across India on Diwali which also witnessed bonhomie along the Indo-Pak border where soldiers of the two countries exchanged sweets and dry fruits.
It was fun and frolic all around in the festival of lights as children and youth burst crackers and lit fireworks while families visited their neighbours, exchanged 'Happy Diwali' greetings and sweets.
Youngsters also took the route of SMS and social networking websites to wish each other.
Diwali or Deepavali (row of lamps), according to Hindu belief, is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya from his exile after vanquishing demon-king Ravana.
The festivities reached a peak in the national capital and other parts of northern India where people decorated their homes and shops with colourful 'rangolis', flowers and lightings and lit 'diyas' or earthen lamps.
Indian and Pakistani troops deployed along the Line of Control exchanged sweets and dry fruits at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian soldiers led by Colonel V P Kristopal handed over boxes of sweets and dry fruits to their Pakistani counterparts as a goodwill gesture while from the other side, troops led by Colonel Omar Gul gifted the goodies to Indians.
At the Attari border joint check post, BSF men gifted buckets of sweets to their Pakistani counterparts.
In nearby Amritsar, thousands of people paid obeisance in the sanctum sanctorum of Harmandhar Sahib (Golden Temple), the holiest Sikh shrine.
The temple was illuminated with fancy electric lights and community feast (langar) was arranged for three lakh devotees.
On the same day in 1620, sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind Sahib was released by Mughal emperor Jahangir from Gwalior fort.
In Mumbai, people ushered in the festivities with a "abhyang snan" (traditional bath) with fragrant oils in the morning and burst crackers in the evening.
Security was tight across the country while it was stricter in Delhi and Mumbai.
The western metropolis will have a high-profile visitor in US President Barack Obama during the weekend.
South Mumbai, where the visiting dignitary will stay and has the venues which he will visit, was placed under a heavy security blanket.
Mumbaikars did not get a chance to celebrate Diwali holidays at the Gateway of India as Obama will stay at the Taj Mahal hotel which has been cordoned off.
Obama will celebrate Diwali at the Holy Name High School in Colaba on Sunday with students.
The Bollywood film fraternity also took a break from the gruelling working schedules to celebrate the festival with family and friends.
Diwali was marked along with Kali Puja in Kolkata, where tastefully decorated and brightly illuminated pandals attracted hordes of visitors. Devotees also thronged Kali temples, including those at Kalighat, Dakshineswar and at Tarapith, since early morning.
In Tamil Nadu, the young and the old rose early in the morning to wear new clothes and burst crackers to celebrate the festival, marking the triumph of good over evil.
Cracker manufacturers, mainly confined to Sivakasi in the state, had come out with new innovations to light up the skies.
Keeping up its decades-long tradition, the Tamil cinema industry saw new films being released on Friday, with crowds thronging the theatres.
In Coimbatore, two lakh Rajasthanis, particularly from Jain community, did not celebrate Diwali following the murder of two children, who were pushed into a canal last Friday.
Meanwhile, in Delhi's Tihar Jail, inmates celebrated Diwali preparing candles and sweets and listening to poetry recital by well-known poets like Ashok Chakravarthy and Vijay Goswami.