Lamps on the banks of the Sarayu River on Diwali, Ayodhya, India
© SANJAY KANOJIA/AFP/Getty Image
A thousand splendid lights. Diwali
Diwali is a religious festival of lights, and holds widespread significance in Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. It is celebrated worldwide in countries with an Indian diaspora. The name 'Diwali' comes from the Sanskrit term 'Dipavali,' which means 'row of lights.' The heart of Diwali lies in the lighting of oil lamps, or 'diyas,' illuminating homes and public spaces, creating a dazzling spectacle that signifies the triumph of knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. The present-day city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, India—believed to be the birthplace of the God of Protection, Lord Rama—holds the Guinness World Record for the largest display of oil lamps. As seen in today's image, the 'diyas' are lit on the banks of the Sarayu River during Diwali.