They call Diwali the festival of lights. Mumbai’s streets glitter with lanterns, diyas, fairy lights and firecrackers. But there is more to this festival than gorging on delicacies and bursting crackers. Grassroutes, an organization that promotes rural tourism, is now offering city slickers the opportunity to celebrate Diwali the traditional way. They are organizing trips to Purushwadi, a small village in Maharashtra, from November 10 to 17 to let you experience how the festival is celebrated in rural India.
The festivities kick off on November 11, when local kids will go door-to-door in Purushwadi, with a lamp made out of an assortment of sticks and twigs. They will sing songs, and in return the villagers will fill oil in their lamps. Then on November 13, these kids will get together to celebrate in their own style. After a singing competition, they gather round and the older kids cook up a feast. “The food is simple, but for the kids it is the best buffet they have in the year. And everyone is invited to take part in it. So anyone who wants to participate in these activities needs to be there by the 13th,” says Naomi Dias of Grassroutes.
After that, the adults get involved. Visitors can join local village women in drawing rangolis outside their homes with coloured powder, participate in the fun and games on Diwali day and attend a dinner at a villager’s home, where they will be served organic food. That apart, you can also partake in other village activities like participating in a rice pounding competition, swimming in the river, trekking through the beautiful greens of the Western Ghats or simply walking through the village and helping in household chores like chopping firewood and milking cattle.