Diwali is the festival of lights. What is it about Diwali that gets the whole world going? Is it the philosophy behind it? The cliched one of removing ignorance and lighting the lamp of knowledge? Or to the Hindus is it celebrating the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya? To the Sikhs, is it the release of their Sixth Guru? Or to the Jains is it in celebration of the liberation of their hero Mahavir? What is it that is so loud and loved about Diwali that the children and the aged await for every year? The lighting of the earthen lamps perhaps? The joy of gulping down boxes of sweets? It is the colourful new clothes? Or decorating humble homes?
Well well, there's no prize for guessing what it is! It is the bang-boom-tuss of the firecrackers that attracts one and all. The multi-sensory experience of the firecrackers have never seen anything on par with it. They come in all shapes to fascinate one and all. From the boom-booms to the whistling, crackling, buzzing sounds - most firecrackers in India are produced in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu.
Sivakasi is 533 km from Chennai and 499 km from Bangalore. The trains and roads that connect these cities are jam packed during Diwali. People come from all over to buy bags of firecrackers.
Located to the east of Western Ghats and to the west of Sattur, Sivakasi is known for its industrial progress and was called "Kutty Japan" or Little Japan by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Every year Sivakasi sparkles to the festival of lights! Sivakasi was once a part of Madurai and hence ruled by several established Kingdoms.
A King of the Pandya dynasty wanted the linga of Lord Shiva be brought from Kasi to be installed at Tenkasi. Destiny had other plans, for the cow carrying the linga stopped at Sivakasi. Hence the name Sivakasi. The linga brought from Kasi was installed there.
Today, the town is famous for the many firecrackers industries it houses along with printing and match industries. It contributes more than 75% of the country's firecracker's produce. The employment opportunities the town provides to many Indians is remarkable. But unfortunately the firecrackers industries are mostly in news for encouraging child labour. However, many voluntary groups are working hand in hand with the Government to reduce any such unlawful activities.
The Badrakali Amman Temple at Sivakasi is the most visited one around the region. The temple tower draws special attention during festivals and is the biggest Kali temple in South India. The Ayyanar Falls on the slopes of Western Ghats is a must visit on your trip to Sivakasi.
Do we really need crackers to express joy? It is for each individual to decide. But to witness the joy of others in Sivakasi will be an experience of its own kind. Visit the sparkly Sivakasi this Diwali...