Diwali colours on show in Bur Dubai's Hindu temple complex – in pictures

The sights, sounds and smells of Diwali are vivid in the narrow streets of Dubai's creekside souq area

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It's been a busy week for the flower, incense and statue shops around the two temples that have been a haven for Dubai's Hindu community since 1958.

Just next to the Grand Bur Dubai Masjid and the Textile Souq, the Shiva and Krishna temples have been a site of worship for the city's Hindu community for more than 60 years now, and the above picture essay shows residents in the area on Choti Diwali, or Diwali Eve.

What is Diwali?

The Hindu festival is at once a celebration of the autumn harvest and the triumph of good over evil, as outlined in the Ramayana.

According to the Sanskrit epic, penned by the sage Valmiki, Diwali marks the time that the exiled king Rama – a mortal with superhuman powers – returned home to the city of Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, after vanquishing the 10-headed demon Ravana and conquering his kingdom of Lanka. The people of Ayodhya are believed to have lit thousands of earthen lamps to illuminate the city and to guide the royal family home.

In its current iteration, Diwali is celebrated with a puja to welcome the goodness of prosperity Lakshmi (an incarnation of Sita) into the home, which is decorated with diyas (oil lamps) or fairy lights and rangoli designs with coloured powder. Fireworks light up the sky in some parts of the word, and sweetmeats are made (or bought) by most households. It is customary to get new clothes stitched, and visit friends and family to exchange gifts and greetings.