Dev Deepawali

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Dev Deepawali is a post-Diwali festival that falls on the full moon day of the Hindu Kartik month. It is regarded as the Diwali of Gods, as it is believed that the celestial deities descend that day to bathe in the river Ganga. It is the time when the religious city of Varanasi transforms into the city of lights instead of just being a city of temples.

The 5-day celebration starts from the 11th day of lunar Kartik month. It begins by offering prayers and flowers to Lord Ganesh, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Then, lit earthen lamps or diyas are offered by young girls and Brahmins while chanting the Vedic mantras. This event is called ‘Deepdaan’.

Many devotees take a dip in the Ganga, which is called Kartik Snan that is believed to cleanse one’s sins. Some families organize Akhand Ramayan in which they chant the Ramayana epic. This is followed by Bhoj where people are served food.

Each of the 81 ghats along the Ganges and temples is alight with diyas. On the night of the Dev Deepawali, the biggest attraction is spectacular and detailed aarti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat lit by thousands of diyas. The view is mystically magical, despite thousands of tourists and locals present.

Along with a religious tinge, the festival also has a patriotic touch to it, as martyrs are paid homage at the ghats. This is marked by praying to Ganga Mata, placing wreaths at Amar Jawan Jyoti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat and the Rajendra Prasad Ghat, and singing patriotic songs.


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