Himachal Pradesh, the state of eternal natural beauty, is situated in the heart of the western Himalayas. One of the famous tourist destinations, Himachal Pradesh is known for its fascinating landscapes, lakes, wildlife, and rivers.
The state is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir in the North, Uttar Pradesh in the South-East, Haryana in the South, Punjab in the West and Tibet in the East. Shimla, a beautiful city, is the state capital. Himachal Pradesh is dominated by mountains and their associated rivers and valleys.
As shown in the map above, the state has twelve districts and some of the important cities and towns of the state are Shimla, Bilaspur, Chamba, Hamirpur, Dharamshala, Kullu, Sirmaur, Mandi, Solan, etc.
Himachal Pradesh is a multi-religional, multi-cultural as well as multi-lingual state like other Indian states. Some of the most commonly spoken languages in the state includes Hindi, Pahari, Dogri, Mandeali Kangri, Mandyali, Gojri and Kinnauri. The caste communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Gujjars, Gaddis, Ghirth (choudhary), Kannets, Rathis and Kolis, Sood, etc.
Diwali Celebrations in Himachal Pradesh :
The state famous for its abundant natural beauty, celebrates Diwali with same fervor as it is celebrated in other parts of the country. Few days prior to Diwali, people start cleaning and decorating their homes. Some even get their homes repainted for this grand festival.
People generally believe that Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth visit all the houses this day and settles down in the house which is clean and dity.
During days of Diwali, there is a tradition in Himachal wherein people lit clay lamps after sunset and keep them outside their homes in memory of their departed ancestors.
People also visit the cremation site of the family members who are no more and lit a diya there also.
Thereafter, people distribute sweets to all members of the family and nearby friends and all as the children seek the blessings of their elderly in true Indian style by touching their feet.
Apart from all this, there are some unique rituals followed in Himachal Pradesh during Diwali. They include sacrificing a goat on the Diwali day. People also paint little vessels (known as Auloo) with clay and decorate it with drawings in red paint. They pray to these vessels and then exchange them with their best friends. It is believed that exchanging these pots not only strengthens their relationship but also ensures a prosperous year ahead. These auloos are considered to be highly auspicious and there are many people especially women who preserve these auloos for years together.