FRONTIERS BEYOND BLOG
Diwali is almost the end of most festivities for almost the whole of north and south India, but for Varanasi that is not the end of the world. 15 days right after the end of Diwali, Varanasi celebrates Dev Diwali or Dev Deepavali. As the name suggests it means Devon ki Diwali or the Diwali celebrations of the Gods. It is celebrated in the months of Karthik which is usually coinciding with November and December in the English Calendar. For this reason, it is also called the Kartik Poornima. It is a grand site that is worth capturing for its fervor and divinity.
It was believed that the Tripurasura demon was following the path of adharma ( path against righteousness), and Lord Shiva was given the task of bringing an end to this demon. After a clamoring battle, Tripurasura met his ends in the hands of Shiva, and hence this festival is also called Tripura Purnima Snan or Tripurotsav. On that day, as a sign of celebration, all the Gods descended on earth to take a dip in the holy Ganges and that is celebrated as Dev Diwali. It is believed that Gods descend in the holy lands of Varanasi every year on this occasion and the millions of devotees light small earthen lamps or diyas to welcome them grandly bowing their heads in adulation.
This is a 5-day festival starting on the 11th day of Kartik called Prabodhini Ekadashi and ending on the 15th day which is Kartik Poornima which is a glorious full moon night. Varanasi was hit very badly during the second covid wave and as a result, the festival did suffer some setbacks. But last year people had really looked forward to a grand celebration. And the 2021 celebration saw the honorable Prime minister greet the tourists while on a boat ride. The spectacle was remarkable with a light and sound show in the Darbhanga Palace in the Darbhanga ghat which is the extension of Munsi ghat, and a phenomenal laser show that reverberated in the hearts of all the onlookers. The government took special care to decide on the huge influx of devotees and both national and international tourists. Many come during the festivities to take a dip in the river referring to it as Kartik Snan. The holy river is believed to have the power of washing all the mortal sins committed by the people breathing on earth.
Be very sure to wake up early in the mornings to catch the devotees taking a dip chanting shlokas and offering prayers. A misty Varanasi morning with devotees taking a dip is a surreal sight and if you don’t know which ghats to head for the same, hold our hand at Frontiers Beyond, so that we can take you during the early hours to behold the site with your own eyes. Do catch a glimpse in the evening for a spectacular display of lakhs of Diyas being offered near the river banks which is called “Deep Daan”. All the ghats are equally shone with the ardent spirit of the lighted diyas. Varanasi can be a melting pot of emotions during this time and you can observe the same by taking a boat ride in the rivers. At one side the Rajghats burn with earthen lamps, the Manikarnika ghat burns with the lighted pyres of the departed souls, and the Dashaswamedha ghat lights up to remember the beloved martyrs and sons of the soil who laid their lives fighting for the independence of the country. You can also visit the Manmandir ghat situated north of Dashaswamedha ghat and dotted with many temples.
There are over 88 ghats or river bank sides of the river Ganges which are well known for various activities in Varanasi. If life around the banks is of interest you should head to the most popular and picturesque ghat during the wee hours. You will surely be spellbound by the music practice or Yoga practice in the ghat.
For the devout, we highly recommend the Lalita ghat for visiting the Nepali mandir and Lalita Gauri Mandir. If you want to see the tilted Shiva temple partially submerged in the water then Scindia ghat which is infamous for getting submerged due to its own weight will be quite something to see.
Finally, arrives the moment when Ganga aarti or the worshipping is performed for the life-giving river which has nourished the children of this land from time immemorial like a most loving mother Goddess. As the Dev Diwali is very close, we really request you to book your trips to avoid last-minute rush and avoid high prices.
If you are wondering what to do on the morning of the festivals then look no beyond, we will take you to those winding lanes and streets to ensure that you can savor some local delights. One such delicacy is the Malaiyo. This is a typical winter delicacy made from the fat of milk (Malai) and dew drops! Yes, those dream-like drops are always a specialty of Varanasi during the winters. Walking in the Chowk Area or tasting specifically the Malaiyo of Markandey which is in the Thatheri Bazaar close to Gopal Mandir and after 11 AM be sure not to find any remnants.
But you need not fret so much about the timings when you are with us. We can also ensure a morning boat ride where you can check out the migratory birds that visit Varanasi every year from Serbia fleeing the cold winters of the land. But catch hold of your tea cups, since they are also keen on a sip.
If you have still not visited the holy lands of Varanasi, then it must be planned around Dev Diwali to see the charming city in all its glory.
Also read more: Durga Puja