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Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is perhaps the most well-known Indian celebration.
Lavanya Sunkara / Forbes

With Hindus living nearly in every corner of the world, this holiday honoring the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil is widely celebrated in Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and during spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The South African city of Durban is no exception. In fact, this bustling port city has the largest population of Indians outside of the subcontinent, making it an Afro-Indian melting pot with its own vibrant culture.

Located on the shores of the Indian Ocean in the KwaZulu-Natal Province, Durban is famous for its sun-kissed golden beaches lining the Golden Mile and the famed Victoria Street Market. Crossing the Indian Ocean to work as contract laborers on sugarcane fields in the 1860s, many Indians stayed in Durban, putting down roots, continuing with traditions and shaping the culture of the second largest city in South Africa.

It was in sunny Durban that Mahatma Gandhi, who came to South Africa as a young lawyer, spent his formative years. Here, he developed his political views, mainly “Satyagraha,” a form of peaceful resistance to injustice, that he later brought to India’s fight for freedom. It was also here in 1994 that Nelson Mandela cast his first vote in a democratic South Africa.

On a visit to Durban, you can pay tribute to these heroes, get a taste of the famous Bunny Chow and, while you are at it, celebrate Diwali alongside the city’s residents.

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