New Delhi: Buildings were decorated with earthen lamps and colourful lights as people across the country celebrated Diwali with pomp on Sunday and a relatively better air quality than in previous years brought much relief to revellers in Delhi.
Despite the national capital recording its best air quality on Diwali day in eight years, pollution levels may rise due to low night temperatures and sporadic burning of firecrackers though there is a ban on their manufacture, storage, sale and use within the city.
One of the most popular Hindu festivals, Diwali is associated with the day Lord Ram is believed to have returned to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman after defeating Ravana during his 14 years in exile and is seen as a celebration of the victory of good over evil.
People, dressed in their finest, exchanged sweets and gifts, visited temples and greeted each other, and celebrations across the country were largely incident free. However, in Uttar Pradesh nine people were injured in a fire that gutted seven shops at a temporary firecracker market on the outskirts of Mathura.
President Droupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the people of the country and hoped the festival will bring happiness and wellbeing.
Like previous years, Prime Minister Modi celebrated Diwali with soldiers. This time it was in Lepcha in Himachal Pradesh.
In Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, the Indian Army exchanged sweets with its Pakistani counterpart on the occasion of Diwali along the Line of Control (LoC), officials said.
However, there was no traditional exchange of sweets and pleasantries between the two sides along the International Border (IB), they said, attributing it to the tense situation following the recent ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Rangers that left a Border Security Force jawan dead.
On Diwali, 80 fishermen released from a jail in Karachi in Pakistan reached Vadodara in Gujarat by train, from where they were taken to Veraval in the state’s Gir Somnath district by bus to be reunited with their families.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wished happiness and prosperity to the people of the city on Diwali.