Your Checklist for a Perfect Diwali

Your Checklist for a Perfect Diwali

To get you in the spirit of the festive season, Urban Diaries in collaboration with Shalini Manglani has curated an exclusive page just for you!


Just in time for that last-minute festive fervour, between dancing flames of the diyas, the vibrant rangolis, the heady fragrance of flowers and decadent desserts, we bring you ethnic ensemble ideas combined with recipes of healthy Diwali delicacies, to give you an instant Diwali celebration swag. After all, we feel it is only fitting that you ring in the festivities like the bonafide desi fashionista that you are. So we present just the sartorial inspiration you need to turn heads this festive season. Are you ready for a diva-esque Diwali? #TheFestiveEdit

Go Floral this Festive Season. This festive season let nature inspire you. Wear muted floral prints on a bold colour base or just include embellishment on the floral. Like Shalini’s Sabyasachi creation, that’s a serene blend of fresh colours complementing the striking block-print.




The Ultimate Cup of Chai. Bonding with guests over a cup of chai is the perfect way to toast a Diwali celebration, and is the ideal accompaniment alongside savoury and sweet Diwali treats. In the photos above, Lauduree tea is served with a goji berry {rich in antioxiants} dropped into each cup, accompanied by dates from ‘Bateel’. Shalini usually serves tea with clove or fennel seeds but this year was inspired by her friend, Shruti who serves tea with goji berries.

Shalini’s wardrobe: Sabhyasachi for Evoluzione, Jimmy Choo Pumps, Louis Vuitton Clutch and Shruti Sushma Ruby and Pearl Earrings


Let the Dupatta do the Talking. Keeping the ethnic spirit intact, a subtle kurta or anarkali is just the perfect canvas to let the dupatta do the talking. Real ethnicity comes through when you delve a little deeper into the authenticities of how clothes work.







All over the world eating and drinking is at the heart of religious celebrations, and Diwali is no exception. An abundance of traditional goodies implies the ‘festival of lights’ might almost be called the ‘festival of sweets’. Shalini has used honey flavoured oat bars and granola to prepare ‘ladoos’, and has garnished them with dry rose petals to please Goddess Laxmi.

Energy-doos {Energy Ladoos}

Serves: 30 pieces


• 2 cups oats / almond meal
• ¼ cup butter
• ¼ cup honey
• ¼ brown sugar
• ½ cup almonds

To garnish:

• ½ cup dried rose petals or
• ½ cup cocoa or
• ½ cup finely chopped pistachios


• Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
• Roast the oats and almonds for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, take out and cool for 10 minutes.
• In a saucepan heat the butter, brown sugar and honey. Heat till sugar dissolves. Cool for 10 minutes.
• Mix the oats and the sauce mixture and spread across a 9” by 10” tray.
• Pat down till it tightly compressed.
• Refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

Shalini’s wardrobe: Anamika Khanna for Evoluzione, Ralph Lauren Trousers, Tory Burch Sandals and Shruti Sushma Jewellery



When I inquire about her beautiful Goddess arrangement, Shalini tells me “Growing up I watched my mother set up a sheet of paper called the ‘Laxmi Patrika’, and the Goddess Laxmi in a ‘Hatalari’. She would then bathe the idol, and silver coins that had the Goddess Laxmi, Lord Ganesh and Narayan engraved on them with milk and water, and surround the ‘Hatalari’ with diyas, sweets, fresh flowers and fruits. An account book or ledger was then adorned with a red ‘swastik’ sign and flower petals, in order to welcome the Goddess and ask Her to make the year a profitable and prosperous one. So this has been my inspiration for my gratitude ritual each year. I humbly bring out my ‘Hatalri’, decorate it, and pray that the Goddess notices my clean & sparkly home and visits it.”


Showcase Elegance through Flared Silhouettes. Unleash the diva within by dazzling brighter than the fireworks in a long jacket-style layered Anarkali with detailed embroidery.





Diwali brings with it a host of delectable traditional beverages. The delicious and healthy Badam Milk, which is imbued with nuts and spices, is one such. Presenting Shalini’s homemade version:

Almond Milk {Flavoured with cinnamon and honey}

Serves: 2


• 2 tbs raw almonds
• 2 cups water, plus more for soaking
• 2 tsp of honey
• 3 sticks of cinnamon {2 inches each}


• Soak the almonds overnight. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier the almond milk.
• Drain the almonds from their soaking water and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.
• Put the almonds in the blender and cover with 2 cups of water.
• Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Pulse the blender a few times to break up the almonds, and then blend continuously for two minutes.
• Strain the almonds by pouring through a muslin cloth.
• Squeeze and press. Extract as much almond milk as possible.
• Store the almond milk in sealed containers in the fridge for up to two days.

The leftover almond meal can be used to make energy-doos or patties.

Shalini’s wardrobe: Shimmer_UB City, Jimmy Choo Clutch and Naya Jewellery


Let One Piece in Your Outfit Take The Limelight. All you need are a few key pieces to boost the festive wardrobe basics. These are investment pieces, which are timeless and yet timely; they are traditional and yet can contend on any global runway; they are sufficiently versatile to lend themselves to any occasion. Like this mirrored jacket worn by Shalini, that lends a dramatic and utterly poetic Sufiana touch to her ensemble. The idea is to look traditional, yet interpret it in a fresh way.

All That Diwali Jazz




Diwali is the perfect excuse to indulge in some of your favourite foods. Different speciality meals are traditionally cooked on different days of Diwali, and these vary further depending on region. Generally speaking, puris replace rotis; and are accompanied by a different dal, vegetable curry, pakoras or namkeen, and a sweet dish on each day of the festival.

Diwali Lunch at Shalini’s home always comprises a ‘saat bhaji’ {which is a combination of seven vegetables}, a daal, a pulao prepared using brown or white rice, and a raita.

Healthy Diwali Thali

Saat Bhaji with Rice

Serves: 2


• 2 cups of seven different chopped vegetables.
o (cauliflower, brinjal, bottle gourd, peas, beans, carrot, 2-3 leaves of spinach)
• 1 pinch jeera
• 1 pinch turmeric
• 1 pinch garam masala
• 1 pinch red chilli powder
• 1 cup tomato puree
• 2 tsp oil
• Salt to taste


• In a pan, heat the oil and add jeera, turmeric, garam masala, and red chilli powder.
• Add all the vegetables and sautee.
• Add the tomato puree and salt.
• Cook covered for 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve with a mix of brown and white rice


Garlic Daal

Serves: 2


• 1/3 cup Chana dal
• 1/3 cup Toor dal
• 1/3 cup Moong dal
• 1 pinch jeera
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 chopped green chillies
• 1 chopped tomato
• 2 tsp oil
• A pinch of asafetida
• Salt to taste


• Soak the daals together for half an hour.
• Put the daal and the chopped tomatoes in a vessel and cook for 30 minutes.
• In a pan, heat oil and add garlic, chillies, asefoteda, and salt. Crackle until brown and add to the daal.


Gajar Halwa

Serves: 2


• 5 carrots (grated)
• 1 tbs ghee
• Half cup brown sugar
• 1 cup milk


• Mix the grated carrots with ghee in a pan and crackle it.
• Add milk to the mixture and cook it for 15-20 minutes.
• Add sugar and cook for 5 minutes.

A raita sprinkled with savoury pumpkin seed granola completes this meal.

Shalini’s wardrobe: Ritika Mirchandani_The Label, Bottega Veneta Clutch and Shruti Sushma Jewellery


Behind the scenes



Here’s wishing you all a very happy Diwali and a New Year filled with light, love, and laughter!


Wardrobe: Shalini’s own
Tablewear: Shalini’s own
Styling & Direction: Tanya Dhar

Location courtesy: Manglani Residence


What are your plans this Diwali? Do share in the comment box below. 🙂

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* I love bringing together a bunch of conflicting items and weaving my own sense of one-ness to them. *


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