I've been watching the city prepare for the upcoming Diwali celebrations. Little clay pots called 'diyas' are for sale everywhere, heaped in big piles. These are placed inside and outside homes, filled with oil and lit on the night of Diwali. Buildings are being decorated with garlands of bright lights. The shops are full of shoppers buying jewellery, new clothes and sweets to give as gifts to family members and friends.
Diwali - or Deepavalli as it's called in South India - is the most important Hindu festival. This festival of lights celebrates the triumph of good over evil when Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasura under whose rule people suffered from many hardships. This is also a time when the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped.
During this festival, homes are thoroughly cleaned, including all metal pots which are filled with water. On the day of the festival, new clothes are worn after a ritual bath. Gifts and sweets are distributed to friends and family members. At night the clay lamps are lit and firecrackers are set off - making this perhaps the noisiest Hindu festival!