indians light clay oil lamps, known as diyas or deepas, in celebration of the third day of diwali. known as the festival of lights, diwali, which begins this year on october 21 (a day earlier in south india), lasts for five days.
what originated as a festival to mark the last harvest of the year and seek the divine blessing of lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, has over the centuries become a national festival enjoyed by most indians regardless of faith. (consider that india is the second most populous muslim nation on the planet)
photos by (click pic) amit dave, ajay verma, arif ali, piyal adhikary, kevin frayer, altaf qadri, sanjeev gupta and shakil adil. the diyas in the first photo have been arranged to spell “happy diwali” in hindi.