Indians set a dazzling Guinness World Record by lighting over 2.22 million earthen oil lamps during the Diwali celebration at Saryu River in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
Despite concerns about air pollution, devotees kept the lamps burning for 45 minutes, symbolizing the victory of light over darkness. The event was graced by the presence of Yogi Adityanath, the state’s top elected official.
The massive lighting ceremony was organized with the help of over 24,000 volunteers, predominantly college students. The Diwali celebration, a national holiday in India, is known for its vibrant lights, socializing, and exchanging gifts.
The evening is dedicated to a special prayer for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, associated with prosperity and good fortune.
While worries about air quality loomed over the festivities, unexpected rain and strong winds improved the situation temporarily, bringing the pollution levels down to 220 on the air quality index. However, experts anticipate a surge in air pollution after the celebrations due to the customary use of fireworks.
In an effort to combat the country’s alarming air pollution levels, officials in New Delhi took preventive measures by shutting down schools and imposing restrictions on polluting vehicles and construction work.
Water sprinklers and anti-smog guns were deployed to control the haze, and residents sought refuge in masks. New Delhi, notorious for its poor air quality, especially during the winter season, faces additional challenges from the burning of crop residues in neighboring states.
To address the issue, some Indian states have banned the sale of fireworks and encouraged the use of “green crackers” that emit fewer pollutants. However, compliance with these measures has been inconsistent in the past.
This year’s Diwali celebrations held particular significance as authorities prepared to inaugurate a long-awaited temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ram at the site of the demolished Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
The demolition of the mosque in 1992 ignited widespread Hindu-Muslim violence, resulting in thousands of deaths. The Supreme Court’s verdict in 2019 paved the way for the construction of the Ram temple.
Despite concerns about air pollution, millions of Indians came together for Diwali Celebration, breaking a world record and spreading joy and light during this auspicious festival.