Diwali 2011: Best Pictures from the Hindu Festival (PHOTOS)
Diwali - or Deepavali - is an important Hindu festival and is known as the festival of lights. It is famous for the stunning images of colour and celebrated by one billion Hindus in India and around the world.
The celebration marks a story in the Hindu epic Ramayana. It marks the return of the ancient king of Ayodhya, Rama, along with his wife, Sita, and brother, Lakshman, to his kingdom. The king ended 14 years of exile after a war in which he killed the demon king Ravana.
Indians celebrate the festival by brightening the day and night with colourful garments and glowing lights. They offer prayers to Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, and light lamps as a way to welcome her into their homes. They visit the homes of their friends and relatives with gifts. They share sweets and burst crackers.
We have collected a series of our favourite pictures from the festival this year.