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Diwali Observance, Jaipur, India, 2001

Photo: Indian women with candles outside palace

Two women observe Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, at the ancient palace of the maharaja in Jaipur. The festival lasts five days and celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. During Diwali, buildings and waterways are lit with candles and oil lamps, the earliest forms of artificial lighting after campfires.

(Text adapted from and photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "The Power of Light," October 2001, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by Joe McNally

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