Feast on the delights of India at Auckland’s Diwali Festival

Grab your favourite chaat, find a good spot in front of the main stage and make the most of the sights, sounds, flavours and fun of the 16thAuckland Diwali Festival, on Saturday, 14 and Sunday, 15 October.

Auckland’s largest celebration of contemporary and traditional Indian culture will light up Aotea Square and Queen St (between Mayoral Drive and Wellesley St) from midday to 9pm each day, with the best of Indian music, dance, theatre, art, craft and street food.

The festival wraps up with a bang with a spectacular Fireworks Finale at 9pm on Sunday.

The festival features hundreds of local performers of all ages, DJs, artists and classical musicians, as well as renowned Kalika Kala Kendra dancers, direct from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra State, India.

The Diwali festival is fantastic for anyone who loves food – especially street food! This is the best of Indian street food brought together in one place – enjoy your favourite chaat like dahi puri, pani puri, aloo tikki. bhel puri or pakora.

Celebrate with sweet treats, with a great range of mithai on offer, from milky barfi, delicious and sticky jalebi, to rose-water drenched gulab jamun and colourful ice-cream-like kulfi.

Food stalls get busiest from 6.30pm onwards – if you prefer to avoid the queues, come for lunch and find a spot on the grass to eat, while you watch the performances.

Got kids to look after? There are loads of activities for kids at this free festival – painting at the Resene marquee; games and entertainment in the kids’ zone; amusement rides; and the ever-popular rangoli workshops, creating traditional patterns from coloured sand.

Thousands of people attend each year, so just in case you get separated, write your mobile phone number on your child’s arm or hand, snap a photo of your child in the day’s outfit when you arrive, and agree on a meeting place if family members get separated.

The Lost Kids tent is at the base of the Auckland Town Hall clock tower.

Never been to Diwali before? These handy tips will help:

  • Grab some food when you arrive, before the food stalls get super busy; check out the entertainment on the main stage; then head to the craft stalls
  • Crowds tends to be their biggest from 6.30pm onwards at the food stalls and 7.30-9pm in front of the main stage
  • Get a temporary henna tattoo
  • This is Auckland – the weather is changeable – bring sunscreen, a hat, and a raincoat
  • Bring your friends and family – it’s a great group outing, and a family- friendly festival with something for all ages
  • Leave behind cigarettes, pipes, vapes, alcohol – the Auckland Diwali Festival is smoke- and alcohol-free, and intoxicated festival-goers will be asked to leave

For getting to and from the Auckland Diwali Festival:

  • Avoid parking hassles and catch public transport to the Auckland Diwali Festival – Aotea Square is in walking distance from the Britomart Transport Centre and the ferry terminals
  • Auckland Transport have extra bike racks at Aotea Square for people cycling to the festival
  • Accessible parking and drop-off areas are marked on the festival map at www.aucklandnz.com/diwali
  • Queen Street is closed between Mayoral Dr and Wellesley St West, so some bus stops are affected
  • For train services and information on temporary bus stop closures, go to https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/events/auckland-diwali-festival/ or to plan your travel from anywhere in Auckland, go to https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/journey-planner/

For being social:

  • #AKLdiwali on Twitter and Instagram
  • Follow What’s On in Auckland on Facebook for event updates
  • The Auckland Diwali Festival programme is available on aucklandnz.com/diwali