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Dev Deepawali – When Gods Descend to Varanasi

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Dev Deepawali/Diwali is a propitious festival that is celebrated every year in Varanasi just after 15 days of the Diwali festival with a lot of fervor. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Kartik month every year in accordance with the Hindu Calendar. This is one of the prime reasons that it is also known as ‘Kartik Poornima’.

Stairway to heaven, Panchganga Ghat

Dev Deepawali marks the emphatic win of ‘Lord Shiva’ over the demon ‘Tripurasur’. After this win, the Gods were welcomed and in their honor every year millions of earthen lamps are lit. So this festival is also known as the “Diwali of the Gods”. This victory saga is also recalled by the name of Tripurari Poornima or Tripurotsav

It is a 5-day festival that starts on the 11th Lunar day of Kartik month named Prabodhini Ekadashi till the 15th Lunar day i.e. on Kartik Poornima. This festival is one of the most awaited tourist attractions as the sight of millions of Diyas is breathtaking. The gathering is so huge that the government has to make special arrangements to handle such a crowd.

Earthen Lamps decorated on steps of the Ghat


On the auspicious day of Kartik Poornima, a large number of devotees take a dip in the Holy Ganges. This is the “Kartik Snan”. It is assumed that taking a dip in the holy river will wash away the sins and bring happiness and prosperity to one’s life. Other than that oil lighted Diyas are offered to The Ganges in the evening. This is known as “Deep Daan”. These two are the main rituals performed.

In Varanasi, the entire riverfront, from Ravidas Ghat to Rajghat is decorated with millions of Diyas in the honor of The Ganges and its former goddess. It is believed that the Gods descend to Earth on this day and take a dip in the holy river. 

Dev Diwali 2019 Varanasi
(picture by Sreenivas)

When the dusk sets, all the steps and stairs are decorated with umpteen earthen lamps. Even the various temples in the city are decorated too. The tourists as well as the natives visit to enjoy the mesmerizing sight of those lighted Diyas gleaming the horizons. Boat ride is available to capture the scenic beauty.

Ganga Aarti is performed in the evening to worship Ma Ganga. Ganga Aarti is the center of attraction of this festival as it also involves hymn chanting, blowing a conch shell, beating of drums in a particular rhythm, etc. There is a great sense of peace in this chaos. The ringing of the bells has a longing effect in the ears which gives the feeling of attachment with the deity.

The actual feel is a thousand times better than the pictures. This ‘festival of light of the Gods’ should be star marked as an experience one must attain at least once in their lifetime.

Also read 6 reasons why you shouldn’t miss Dev Diwali.

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