Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 October 2019

Diwali in the UAE: where to celebrate the festival of lights this year

From fantastic dining deals, to staycations and complimentary sweet treats, we have rounded up the best Diwali deals

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi is hosting the Yas Mega Mela festival of Indian culture from October 31 until November 2. Courtesy Yas Island 
Yas Island, Abu Dhabi is hosting the Yas Mega Mela festival of Indian culture from October 31 until November 2. Courtesy Yas Island 

Diwali is set to fall on Sunday, October 27, with several hotels and restaurants in the UAE hosting celebrations for the festival of lights. Here is a round-up of some of the best deals.

Sales and discounts for Diwali gift-shopping

Diwali is the time to buy and gift new clothes, jewellery and homeware, and several stores have introduced or extended their sales during the festival of lights. Jawhara Jewellery has 50 per cent off on its diamond and pearl pieces, while the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group has 50 per cent off on diamonds and gold, until Saturday, November 2. Desi fashion brand Khaadi has slashed prices on its Indian and Pakistani suits for women by up to 50 per cent at its Yas Mall and Dubai Mall outlets.

Perfumes are a popular gift: get yours from Mikyaji, which has a buy 2, get 2 offer on selected fragrances, while VPerfumes has a 25 to 75 per cent sale.

For home decor, look to Interiors, for 30 to 50 per cent off; Crate & Barrel, for 25 to 50 per cent off; Crystal Gallery for 25 to 50 per cent off; and Villeroy & Boch for 25 to 75 per cent off.

Festival of lights celebration at The Waterfront Market

The waterfront promenade on the Deira Corniche will play host to a plethora of activities and food stalls from Thursday, October 24. Visitors can contribute to the giant rangoli and mural painting, enjoy a spot of Bollywood dancing, or sample bite-sized eats at various restaurant pop-ups.

Thursday, October 24-Tuesday, October 29, 3pm-9pm, Waterfront Market, intersection of Al Khaleej road and Abu Hail street, Deira, Dubai, www.thewaterfrontmarket.ae

Dine at Kinara by chef Vikas Khanna

Celebrations are set to take place at  Kinara by Vikas Khanna. Courtesy JA Hotels  
Celebrations are set to take place at  Kinara by Vikas Khanna. Courtesy JA Hotels  

The newly opened Indian restaurant Kinara by chef Vikas Khanna serves authentic regional dishes with a modern twist. With Khanna’s protege,chef de cuisine Ashish Kumar, at the helm, the Dubai restaurant serves sharing-style dishes including chicken berry biryani, tandoori lamb chops and sea bass with almond sauce and mustard caviar. The menu also has several vegetarian choices, including yoghurt kebab, dal makhani and cottage cheese roulade with a rich pistachio filling and tomato-clove sauce. Guests will receive a traditional dry fruit ladoo coated with silver leaves for Diwali.

Daily, 6pm-11pm; Kinara by Chef Vikas Khanna, JA Lake View Hotel, Jebel Ali, Dubai; 04 814 5555

Take a walking photography and food tour

Celebrate Diwali with a photography and food tour in Deira, Dubai. Courtesy Gulf Photo Plus 
Celebrate Diwali with a photography and food tour in Deira, Dubai. Courtesy Gulf Photo Plus 

Celebrate the festival of lights with a walking photography and food tour in Old Dubai with Frying Pan Adventures and Gulf Photo Plus. Starting at Baniyas Square Metro Station, the four-hour tour will take participants to a 60-year-old temple tucked away in the alleys of Meena Bazaar, where they can capture glittering streets and family-run jewellery shops, and stroll alongside local celebrants decked out in festive wear. The street-side energy and kaleidoscopic colours offer an opportunity to practise street photography skills, and guests will also dine on sweet and savoury treats from bustling Bur Dubai eateries. All you need to take is a camera (mobile or DSLR), although we recommend carrying a pair of socks if you don't want to enter the temple barefooted.

Saturday, October 26, 5.45pm-10pm; Dh595; Diwali Unseen Trails, Gulf Photo Plus, meeting at Baniyas Square Metro Station, Deira, Dubai; gulfphotoplus.com

Buy Diwali chocolates from Forrey and Galland

Luxury chocolatier Forrey and Galland is releasing special Diwali chocolates. Courtesy  Forrey and Galland
Luxury chocolatier Forrey and Galland is releasing special Diwali chocolates. Courtesy Forrey and Galland

Luxury chocolatier Forrey and Galland has created a box of Diwali chocolates, which represents "an intricate and colourful design celebrating the diversity of India". Flavours include Earl Grey tea, rose petals, saffron-infused chocolates, praline-encrusted truffles and more, available at The Dubai Mall boutique and online.

Forrey and Galland, The Dubai Mall; forreyandgalland.com/product-category/diwali

Visit the Yas Mega Mela Festival

Head to Yas Island for Diwali celebrations at du Arena. The Yas Mega Mela Festival will take place from Thursday, October 31, to Saturday, November 2. It is expected to be the largest Indian lifestyle, cultural and Bollywood event in the region, with Indian street food, and fun activities for children, including diya painting and Diwali cookie-decorating. Singers Kanika Kapoor and Ankit Tiwari are headlining the weekend, which will also include bhangra and dhol drumming performances.

Thursday, October 31 to Saturday, November 2, from 5pm until late; early-bird tickets from Dh20; Yas Mega Mela Festival, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.yasisland.ae

Free Looshi's cookies with Deliveroo Editions

Looshi’s has created special Rangoli-inspired cookies, which will be deliverred to customers who order from Deliveroo Editions kitchens in Dubai. Courtesy Deliveroo 
Looshi’s has created special Rangoli-inspired cookies, which will be deliverred to customers who order from Deliveroo Editions kitchens in Dubai. Courtesy Deliveroo 

If you order from Deliveroo Editions in JLT, Hessa Street or Business Bay on Sunday, October 27, you will receive a free rangoli cookie designed by Looshi’s and Deliveroo to celebrate Diwali. The limited-edition cookies come in two flavours: cardamom and nutmeg, and cinnamon and cumin.

Thursday, October 27; free; Deliveroo Editions Kitchens, Dubai; deliveroo.co.uk

Check into the JA Hatta Fort Hotel

Retreat to JA Hatta Fort Hotel to celebrate Diwali. Courtesy JA Hatta Fort Hotel
Retreat to JA Hatta Fort Hotel to celebrate Diwali. Courtesy JA Hatta Fort Hotel

Get away from the city and retreat to the JA Hatta Fort Hotel for a weekend of celebrations. From Friday, October 25, guests who check in will receive a Diwali welcome gift in their room. In the afternoon, the hotel will host a Diwali Sweet Treat Treasure Hunt for children on the front lawn, and provide glow sticks and sparklers. Come the evening, dine at Jeema Restaurant from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, on an unlimited buffet of Indian delicacies. The Diwali buffet costs Dh185 per person including water and soft drinks, and Dh285 per person including unlimited house drinks. Guests can also enjoy movie nights by the Gazebo Pool, where a large outdoor screen will show popular Bollywood films throughout the weekend.

Friday, October 25 to Sunday, October 27; JA Hatta Fort Hotel, Hatta, Dubai; 04 809 9333, reservations.hfh@jaresorts.com

Diwali celebrations at Bab Al Shams

The delicious dishes on offer at Masala this Diwali. Courtesy Bab Al Shams 
The delicious dishes on offer at Masala this Diwali. Courtesy Bab Al Shams 

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa is serving traditional and authentic Indian cuisine at Masala restaurant, where the courtyard will be transformed into a Diwali village celebration hub, filled with bright and beautiful decor. For 10 days there will be live music and cooking stations serving traditional Indian delicacies such as dahi bhalle, samosas, pakoras, mathiya, gathiya and aloo tikki.

Wednesday, October 23 to Saturday, November 2, 7pm-11pm; Dh190 per person; Masala, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai; babalshams.com

Free Diwali desserts at Hitchki

The vibrant interiors of Hitchki. Courtesy Hitchki
The vibrant interiors of Hitchki. Courtesy Hitchki

The restaurant at Grand Millennium Dubai in Barsha Heights is giving customers free desserts to celebrate Diwali on Sunday, October 27, preceded by a set Diwali menu. Guests can also try fusion dishes from the a la carte selection, which includes laksa prawn dum biryani, crispy chicken khurana and PP's spinach risotto.

Sunday, October 27, noon-1am; Hitchki, Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights, Dubai; www.hitchki.co

Diwali menu at Moreish

Mango srikhand trifle on the Diwali menu at Moreish 
Mango srikhand trifle on the Diwali menu at Moreish

As its name suggests, the Oud Metha restaurant is serving some truly moreish dishes until Saturday, November 2. On the Diwali menu are: popcorn ruby chaat (with coriander pesto and pomegranate seeds); almond and date roti tarts; cranberry pulao; saffron risotto; lavender barfi; fennel-crusted cheesecake; and an ultra-sweet mango srikhand trifle.

Until Saturday, November 2, 11.30am-midnight, Al Ahly building, Oud Metha, Dubai, 04 396 1396

Gift boxes from Bateel

Diwali gift box at Bateel 
Diwali gift box at Bateel

Gourmet dates and chocolates are exactly the stuff that Diwali gift boxes are made of. In Bateel's case, the boxes, too, draw inspiration from traditional colours and designs, such as the marigold flower and rangoli sketches. Available in various sizes, the boxes are customisable and can be filled with chocolates, chocolate-coated biscuits, dates and date chocolates.

Various locations across the Emirates; www.bateel.com

Diwali on board the QE2

Baby idlies on the Diwali menu on the QE2
Baby idlies on the Diwali menu on the QE2

The historic ship-turned-floating hotel at Dubai's Port Rashid will put on a gastronomic feast featuring more than 200 Indian delicacies that hail from the North Indian city of Delhi to the South Indian state of Kerala. The set menu will be served at Lido restaurant on Sunday, October 27, and includes fresh Indian salads, breads, pickles, starters, chaat, curries, and desserts such as gulab jamun, saffron rice kheer and ras malai. Passengers will also enjoy a light show and Bollywood music, and can further combine the meal with a night's stay and breakfast.

Sunday, October 27, 7pm-11pm, Lido on the QE2, Dubai, Dh99 for dinner or Dh490 for dinner and accommodation, dining@qe2.com or reservations@qe2.com

Updated: October 20, 2019 05:00 PM

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