Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Diwali in Mumbai: A Splash of Color and Coin

In India, as the swelling crowds and bursts of color attest, it's Diwali. The Hindu autumn holiday of lights sees shops and homes festooned with decorations. Fireworks shake the skies above luxury homes and slums alike, while the shopping rush is so fierce that gold prices move. But there are moments of calm, as families light oil diya lamps together to beckon Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. As the steaming summer draws to a close, there is reason to celebrate. Photographs by Dhiraj Singh for Bloomberg

In India, as the swelling crowds and bursts of color attest, it's Diwali. The Hindu autumn holiday of lights sees shops and homes festooned with decorations. Fireworks shake the skies above luxury homes and slums alike, while the shopping rush is so fierce that gold prices move. But there are moments of calm, as families light oil diya lamps together to beckon Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. As the steaming summer draws to a close, there is reason to celebrate. 

Shoppers browse lantern decorations on Monday, which marked Dhanteras, the first day of Diwali celebrations in India.

It is the biggest gold-buying day in the year as it is considered to be an auspicious day to purchase bullion. Shoppers line up to buy gold coins in south Mumbai's Zaveri Bazaar, a name that translates to Jewelry Market. 

Customers at a Zaveri Bazaar gold shop. While gold sales traditionally surge during Diwali, there are signs that below-average monsoon rains will crimp purchasing. Demand is so weak among the rural Indians making up almost 60 percent of domestic gold consumption that dealers who stocked up before Diwali are offering some of the biggest discounts in decades.

A gold coin is handed over for inspection at the Umedmal Tilokchand Zaveri jewelry store in Zaveri Bazaar. Some observers say the price discounts are due not to weak demand but tax breaks brought in on imports of semi-processed gold, known as dore, which have led to competing supplies of the finished metal from domestic refiners.

As dusk falls in Mumbai's Crawford Market, built during British colonial rule, shoppers linger over the colors of Diwali. The market was later renamed Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai, after an Indian social reformer, but many locals still use its former name.

With Diwali comes fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. Men crowd a fireworks counter in Mumbai to buy stacks of them.

The Rambo variant of firecracker. Rocket-propelled grenade not included.

A shopper makes his way through a market crammed with Diwali shoppers in Mumbai. The season unleashes crowds and traffic jams as families visit one another and pick up gifts.

Businessmen hold new accounting books wrapped in red fabric.

The week brings splashes of color big and small — flower petals, lanterns, strings of lights, strings of flowers and the reassuring sight of clay lamps, burning at one home after the next.

Amid modern life's Bollywood tattle, online shopping bonanzas and Twitter hashtags, there are small things that remind Indians of family, home and ... 

... wonder.