Uttarakhand, formerly Uttaranchal, is a state located in the northern part of India. The state was carved out of the Himalayan and adjoining northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh in November 2000.
It is bordered by Tibet Autonomous Region on the north; the Mahakali Zone of the Far-Western Region, Nepal on the east; and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south and Himachal Pradesh to the northwest.
Uttarakhand is often referred to as the “Land of the Gods” due to the many holy Hindu temples and pilgrimage centers found throughout the state.
Dehradun is the capital of the state and other important cities of the state include – Haridwar, Roorkee, Rudrapur, Kashipur, Rishikesh, Nainital, etc.
Diwali Celebrations in Uttarakhand :
Since the state was part of Uttar Pradesh around 13 year ago, the celebrations in the state are similar to that in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
For people of this region, Diwali mainly celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
Just like other parts of the country, Diwali is a five day festival in Uttarakhand also which starts on Dhanteras and ends of Bhaidooj.
The rituals performed here during Diwali are almost the same as in the rest of the country. Like in other parts of the country people here perform puja of goddess Lakshmi on Dhanteras Day and then perform Lakshmi Ganesh Puja on Diwali Day.
Just like in other parts of the country, people of Uttarakhand celebrate Diwali by drawing colourful Rangoli’s outside their homes to welcome goddess of wealth – Lakshmi, wear new clothes, eat lots of sweets, exchange gifts, wear new clothes, decorate their homes with lights and diya’s, spent time with friends and family members, etc.
Like in other parts of North India, people of Uttarakhand also celebrate the fourth Day (Day after Diwali) as Govardhan Puja or Annakoot where in large number of dishes are prepared by people and offered to Lord Krishna which is later consumed by the people as Bhog.
Bhai Dooj the last day of Diwali holds significance in Uttarakhand. On this day, sisters pray for their brothers to have long and happy lives by performing the Tika ceremony (i.e., making a tikka on their brother’s forehead with kumkum and rice) and brothers give gifts to their sisters.
In Haridwar, an important pilgrimage city, Diwali is considered as the festival of light which make the city of Haridwar to glow up in lights at the time of nights. Here the steps of ghats on the riverfront of the Ganges River are lit and special Aarti’s are performed.