New Delhi: Diwali, the festival of lights, was celebrated with traditional fervour across the national capital on Sunday with people lighting up their houses with lamps and candles while dazzling firecrackers lit up the evening sky.
People visited neighbors and relatives and distributed sweets and exchanged greetings. By late evening, hundreds of thousands of traditional earthen lamps and electric lights brightened homes, shops and work places.
Devotees prayed to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi at home and in temples while children and youth burst firecrackers.
The festival of lights marks the triumph of good over evil, and is widely believed to mark the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after vanquishing the demon king Ravana.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal greeted the people on the occasion.
Dedicating the festival to the armed forces, Modi celebrated Diwali with soldiers in a remote and strategic area in Himachal Pradesh, adjoining the Chinese border.
Meanwhile the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) has put up elaborate arrangements and is ready with 1,500 fire fighters across the city to handle any emergency.
Besides canceling the Diwali leave of all its employees, the DFS has set up 22 fire centres in addition to the existing 59 fire stations.
Incidentally Diwali this year in Delhi is expected to be significantly more polluted than in the previous two years.
According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) of the Ministry of Earth Science, the air quality in the National Capital Region will be “severe” on October 30 and 31 and “worst” on October 31.