When we reached Alwar it was, as expected, bustling with holiday crowds. The Diwali tradition in Rajasthan is to perform a puja (worship) of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, in which sweets and coconuts are offered first to the goddess, then to the guests. So everyone’s shopping included:
We were mystified by the stuff shown at top, until someone offered us a taste – pure sugar candy, apparently.
^ This is petha, candied melon, traditional in this part of India. Later, in Agra, we saw shops offering petha made from other fruits. Don’t worry about the bees, they don’t eat much.
^ The festival is decorated in garlands (malas), both real and artificial.
Diwali is also a time for giving gifts, more or less lavishly depending on the local economy and your family budget.
^ Sweets are the biggest tradition, and may be dressed up in…
^ fancy boxes.
^ And, if you’re short on idols for at-home worship, you can stock up. Ganesh is also traditionally worshipped at this time, along with Saraswati, goddess of the arts and learning.