Dev Deepawali: When Gods Descend From Heavens to the Ghats of Varanasi

dev deepawali

GeneralWritten By: Sreeparna Sarkar

It seems that festivals and celebrations never really end in the mighty land of India. Each festival carries an intoxicating scent and charismatic vibe that makes it one of a kind. Dev Deepawali is one such incredible festival that attracts millions of people to Varanasi, the epicentre of this festival. Following the glittering celebration of Deepawali on Kartik Amavasya (New Moon), the celestial splendour of Dev Deepawali illuminates the ambience once again on Kartik Purnima (Full Moon).

If you are thinking about what is so special about Varanasi during Dev Deepawali, let us unfold the mystery of this spiritual land and its connection to the Festival of Lights of the Gods. 

Varanasi – an amalgam of Spirituality and Culture: 

Varanasi often referred to as Benares or Kashi has been the ultimate pilgrimage for Hindus to explore spirituality and seek salvation. Mark Twain, the renowned American author once wrote, “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”  Indeed it is! For over 3000 years, the city has been a center of learning and civilization. 

As one of the most sacred lands of the country, Varanasi has preserved much of its ancient aura. Rugged stone constructions, narrow and winding lanes, chiseled temples, mild chanting of Vedic mantras, an array of colourful boats by the Ghats, worn-out buildings with medieval designs – something is fascinating about this land where spirituality blends with history and culture. According to Hindu legends, those who die on Varanasi's land are said to attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of births and rebirths. The city is also believed to be the land of Shiva, one of the trinity of the Hindu Pantheon – the controller of time and the destroyer of the universe.

Lighting up the citadel of Gods:  

There are numerous mythological tales synced with the auspicious occasion of Dev Deepawali. This auspicious full moon day on Kartik Masam (month) is believed to be when Gods descend from Heaven to the Ghats (riverbanks) of Varanasi to celebrate Lord Shiva's triumph over the demonic powers of Tripurasura – the evil monarchs of the “Three Cities”. 

During this time of the year, every Ghat, temple, or even the houses of Varanasi come alive with several earthen ghee lamps or “Diyas”. Thousands of devotees throng the city to experience the glory and divinity of the “Ghats” and to offer “Diyas” to the Holy River. 

The tradition of lighting up the river began during the 1980s, when a group of enthusiastic youths started lighting hundreds of earthen lamps to pay homage to the Holy Ganges on Panchganga Ghat, one of the holiest places in Varanasi. Over time, the celebration of Dev Deepawali gradually started taking a grand form and attracting millions of devotees across the country and even the world every year. 

A Holy nostalgia to cherish forever: 

India celebrates a number of festivals throughout the year, marking events from ancient times that are often tied to seasonal changes. Experiencing the celebration of Dev Deepawali in Varanasi can leave one flabbergasted with its majestic vibe that struck one’s mind. The mesmerizing sights of Varanasi Ghats adorned with glimmering earthen lamps floating on the river lingers forever as Holy nostalgia. 

There is no better way to experience an Indian festival than to be there. Indian festivals may be the most blissful experiences a person can have in life. Varanasi continues to fascinate the world with its multiculturalism and rich cultural heritage.

TAGS - festival of lights

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