Leicester lights up as dazzling Diwali celebrations begin

By Jayden Whitworth

Illuminated: The Golden mile is lit-up with Diwali lights

The Diwali celebrations have landed in Leicester with hundreds of people flocking to see the famous Golden Mile, ahead of this month’s Diwali celebrations.

The festival lights switch-on took place on Sunday, October 9, and marked the start of the Diwali celebrations here in Leicester.

The festivities continue through to Diwali day which takes place on Monday, October 24. 

Diwali day marks the end of the festive period, and the two-week-long celebration will be crowned with a firework display, entertainment, and a giant puppet parade.

The celebrations in Leicester are known to be some of the best outside of India with the iconic wheel of light being the main attraction.

Belgrave Eye: The wheel of light in the background of The Golden Mile

The wheel of light is back this year and is open from 4pm to 10pm, Monday to Friday, and 2pm until 10pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Leicester is one of the most culturally diverse and ethnically inclusive cities in the UK and that is something that the city prides itself on.

The Diwali celebrations have become a cornerstone of the annual festival calendar and with this year being the first year with no COVID-19 restrictions, people are desperate to get involved in Belgrave.

Bhavini Parmar, 43, from Belgrave, said: “This part of Leicester looks amazing at this time of the year, and it is great for everyone here.

“It gets very busy, but it is great to see so many people out here to see the lights.

Diwali is a festival that is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains, and it represents messages of good over evil, of truth over falsehood, and light shining in the dark. 

Diwali is most commonly known as the festival of light and people often celebrate by lighting up their homes and the streets of their neighbourhood, with vibrant lights and decorations.

Adorned: Decorations on Belgrave Road

Diwali is a time for people to be together and exchange gifts and spread peace and goodwill to all.

Bhavini said: “For me Diwali is an opportunity to be with family and friends and share these moments with them.

“Usually, all my family come together, and we have a big dinner to celebrate.”

The Golden Mile in Belgrave remains alight with dazzling light decorations and will be up until October 24 where this years’ Diwali celebrations come to an end.

For more information on this year’s Diwali events, visit www.visitleicester.info/diwali

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Leicester Diwali Day Celebrations – car parking, park & ride and road closures

By Samuel Gill

Advice on travelling to, car parking and road closures for Leicester’s Diwali Day celebrations which come to a climax tonight have been issued to help visitors.

Tonight’s Diwali Day event in the Belgrave Road area will include an aerial firework display as well as a Diwali Village on the Cossington Street site which will feature a full stage programme.


Dancers taking part in last year’s Diwali celebrations in Leicester – Photo: Leicester Council

For those who are visiting the events taking place tonight, here is a quick guide for travel, car parking and road closures in the area.

A full closure of Belgrave Road and the junctions of its side roads will be in place from 5.30pm until about 9.30pm during which time no vehicles will be allowed access.


Road closure map showing which roads are not in use during tonight’s events -Photo: Leicester Council

Any cars who cause an obstruction will be ticketed and towed away. Anyone else who parks in this area will be issued with a Penalty Charge notice.

A Park and Ride Service will be back by popular demand. This will be run from Birstall Park & Ride.

This runs to the Abbey Park Road side from 4pm to 8pm and return journeys will run from the site from at 8.30pm to 10pm. The cost will be £4 per person for a return journey or £6 for a group of up to 5 people travelling in a car together.

The cost for concessionary pass holders is £1 for a return journey but Park & Ride Season Tickets are not valid for tonight’s events.

Car Parking spaces in and around the Belgrave Road area are very limited and the council is advising visitors to use public  transport or the park and ride.

A 24-hour NCP car park is situated in Abbey Street which is either a three-minute walk to the bus stops or approximately a 15-minute walk from the event.

Parking is also available at the Haymarket Centre and at Lee Circle, both a 15-minute walk from the event.

In addition, the following bus services will run from near to or on Belgrave Road:

  • Number 2 – Loughborough
  • Number 5/5A – East Goscote/Melton
  • Number 6 – Syston
  • Numbers 25, 26 & 54 – Beaumont Leys
  • Numbers 126/7 – Shepshed/Loughborough

Alternative routes will have to be used by some services including the 21 and 22 to Rushey Mead, 6 to Thurmaston and 5, 5A to Melton will have to use Marfitt and Catherine Street. The 25/6 to Beaumont Leys and Loughborough services (2 & 126) will use Abbey Lane.

People are advised to visit choosehowyoumove.co.uk for up to date travel information on the night of the event.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue service provide tips for a safe Diwali

By Mollie Mansfield

The Leicestershire Fire and Rescue service have uploaded a list of tips to ensure celebrators have a safe, fire-free Diwali this Sunday, October 30.

The Hindu festival, otherwise known as the Festival of Light, is renowned for creating fire-based incidents due to being centred around candles.

However despite the festival usually causing problems for firefighters, the service have also supplied warning tips for burglary, robbery, and self-protection.

They have also told attendees to ring 101 if they see anyone acting suspiciously in their neighbourhood.


Below is the list of tips:


  • Never fill more than one-third of your cooking pan with oil.
  • If the oil starts to smoke, turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
  • Never leave your cooking pans unattended with the heat switched on.
  • If a fire does start don’t try to fight it yourself. Get out stay out, and call 999.

Candles and divas

  • Use only enough ghee or oil for a diva to last your puja.
  • If you do need to leave a diva, candle or nightlight unattended, make sure it is resting securely on a surface that will not melt or burn.
  • Keep the flame at a safe distance from curtains, decorations and clothing at all times.


  • When you go out lock your doors and windows, even if you’re only going out for a short time.
  • Use a timer switch for lights and a radio to make it look like someone is at home.

Protect yourself

  • Be aware of what is happening around you and trust your instincts.
  • If you feel unsafe change direction and go somewhere you feel safer and are more visible to other people.
  • Avoid wearing headphones or talking on mobile phones as this can distract you.
  • Keep your purse or valuables inside a zipped compartment in your bag. Always keep your bag closed and close to you.

Protect your belongings

  • Be discreet with your valuables, money and mobile phone and make sure it is not on show.
  • If you’re wearing jewellery like a necklace, cover it with a scarf.
  • Never leave anything on display in your car, whether it’s an expensive laptop or just some loose change. Even items of clothing can attract thieves as they may think that there will be money in the pockets.
  • Lock your car at all times, even if you leave it for a few seconds.


For more information please see the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue website here.



Diwali, Business or Pleasure?


Vast preparations for Diwali have left some suggesting that the festival of light has been over-commercialised.

Diwali is a massive celebration for the Indian community every year, however it has been suggested that it has become more a business than a celebration.

GetAttachment.aspx                                                                                                                                                                                          Royal Sweets in Melton Road is run by Sam Musani, who said: “Diwali is like Christmas at Toys R Us for us. It’s about family, food and fireworks.”

Sam took a month to plan for the upcoming celebration as he sells fresh food and it has to be cooked the same day.

So is Diwali over-commercialised? Sam said he believed it wasn’t at all as his friends are already buying Christmas gifts and, in his words, “Diwali is about exchanging blessings and sweets.”

Sam added: “Today there is not enough time for family and Diwali brings the family together wherever they are.”


GetAttachment-1.aspxRanu Kamota and her daughter Rupa Jakhu (left) have been running Kabhi Kabhi Sweet Mall shop for the last 35 years and have seen many Diwalis from their business.
Ranu said: “Sweets are so important for Indian cu
lture, because when we pray we offer sweets.”

The shop is another that notices the increase in business around the Diwali season. Ranu added: “Diwali is still good but a little bit over-commercialised.”

It is the busiest time of the year for local GetAttachment-2.aspxbusinesses and both Royal Sweets and Kabhi Kabhi Sweet Mall are looking forward to being with their family and sharing sweets and celebrating this event that is so important to the Indian community and culture.





Leicester prepare to begin Diwali celebrations

By Ben Clarke

Leicester is set to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights in even more spectacular fashion than usual with the inclusion of a giant wheel of light.

The new addition is on Belgrave Road and opened on October 17 with tickets going for £5 for adults and £4 for concession.

The wheel is set to stay open on in Leicester until November 15 and is the first time it has been open in the city.

Diwali celebrations in Leicester are the largest outside India with 35,000 people attending the turning on of the lights on Belgrave Road.

Mayur from Shree Hindu Temple said: “Leicester has a big Hindu community; Hindu’s have been here a long time since 1970’s.

“The actual celebrations have remained traditional despite the new wheel, as it is still seen as a chance for new businesses.”

The lights are set to be switched on this Sunday 1 until Wednesday 11 November on Cossington Street recreation ground and Belgrave Road where the wheel will be based.

There are also lights throughout the city centre that will be lit as part of the five day Diwali celebration.

There will also be firework display with cultural entertainment this Sunday and people are encouraged to take transport in due to limited spaces.

Mayur added: “The festival brings happiness and gives people the chance to open new books (accounts) as in India everything in business is in books.

“It is like a new start and encourages people to do this and people open new books.”

The festival of light is seen as a chance to start a fresh and brings a new optimism to the Hindu community, as it marks the New Year in Hinduism, which was traditionally greeted with new businesses opening or farming and harvesting to take place, back in India.

Diwali is the major celebration of what is thought to be the oldest religion in the world, that is has firm beliefs in a fresh start and luck which is why it is tradition to spring clean and gamble around the festival period.

Although the fifth day is Diwali day the main celebration will be taking place on the third day (November 9).