The Dev Deepawali or “God’s Lights Festival” is the festival held in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. This falls on the full moon of the Hindu month Kartika and occurs 15 days after Diwali. It is believed that the gods are coming down to Earth on this day to bathe in the Ganges. It also marks the triumph of Lord Shiva over Tripurasur’s demon and is therefore also know by the name Tripurotsav. This year the festival will be held on 12th November Tuesday. Ironically, the Kartik Purnima festival also coincides with Guru Nanak Jayanti and Jain light festival.
The 5 day festival starts on Prabodhini Ekadashi and concludes on Kartik Poornima. It is often described the sight of a million lamps (both floating and fixed) illuminating the Ghats and the river in vivid colours makes up for a spectacular sight. The main ritual where devotees come together on to take a dip in the holy Ganges also called kartik snan. They pray to Goddess Ganga and offer flowers and oil lighted lamps which is called Deepdaan. As the sun goes down, Varanasi Ghats shimmer with thousands of diyas on every single step of the staircases, which look absolutely breathtaking.
In addition to the Ghats, the lamps also beautifully illuminate all the temples in the town. People gather on the Ghats to watch the Aarti where big flashes of lamps are set and the priest holds the lamp while the audience sings the hymns in the evening.
Also, boat trips (in boats of all sizes) are popular with tourists alongside the river to witness this moment. You can also book , a tour guide from Odigos to explore the best of the city. Click Here – Dev Diwali Special trip
In addition to its religious function, the festival also marks the occasion when the city remembers the martyrs. The Ganga Seva Nidhi is organised, wherein wreaths are laid at the Amar Jawan Jyoti on the Dashashwamedh Ghat and the adjacent Rajendra Prasad Ghat. This is accompanied by a closing ceremony which is held by officers of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. Patriotic songs, hymns and bhajans are sung and awards are given to the Bhagirath Shourya Samman.
Ganga Mahotsav Festival
Ganga Mahotsav is a tourist festival held around the same time as Dev Deepawali. The festival reflects the city’s rich heritage through cultural program, classical music, a rural boat race, an art & craft exhibition known as Shilp mela, displayed sculptures and martial arts with its message of faith and culture.
Dev Deepawali in Varanasi is an experience worth remembering. If you want to experience this festival then do check out the Odigos. They have tour guides as well as experiences based all over India. Book now!