Dev Deepawali is a Hindu festival of light celebrated mainly in the Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi (Kashi); celebrated fifteen days after the festival of Deepawali. The festival is also called Tripuri Purnima and Tripurari Purnima and is equally celebrated by Sikhs and Jains as well. Varanasi is the holiest city in India and a major religious pilgrimage for Hindus.
“Dev Deepawali”, as the name suggests, refers to the Deepawali of Gods (Devs). Hindus believe that on this day, Gods descend from heaven to celebrate Deepawali in Varanasi and to bathe in the holy water of Ganges.
Dev Deepawali is grandly celebrated as a five day festival with pomp and show in Varanasi, concluding with main celebration on Kartik Purnima.
Dev Deepawali 2019
Dev Deepawali in 2019 will be celebrated on Tuesday, 12th November 2019. The auspicious time for lighting diyas and performing other religious rituals is during the Purnima Tithi. On 12th November 2019, the Purnima Tithi begins at 18:01 P.M. and will end at 19:04 P.M.
When is Dev Deepawali Celebrated?
Dev Deepawali is celebrated fifteen days after Diwali (Deepawali) festival. It falls on a Purnima (full moon day) in the Hindu month of Kartik, which is the seventh month of traditional Hindu calendar. While Diwali falls on a no moon day, Dev Diwali on the other hand is celebrated a fortnight later on a full moon day. The festival falls in the months of November – December, as per the Gregorian calendar.
The festivities begin on the 11th day of Kartik month called Prabodhini Ekadashi and concludes on the Purnima on 15th day of Kartik.
Dev Deepawali Celebration in Varanasi
Dev Deepawali is grandly celebrated in the holy city of Varanasi. The festival is much popular among tourists, who often schedule their dates to coincide with it. The grandeur of the festival could be estimated from the fact that almost all of the hotels in Varanasi go houseful during the festival month. The whole city gets bustling with tourists from different corners of India and abroad.
The city gets into the festival mood well in advance, with tourists pouring in just after Diwali. The decoration of Ghats and adjacent buildings also starts days before the main festival. The ghats hold various activities during all the five days of the festival, from Ekadashi to Purnima. The activities include – classical music, poetry, classical dance, and various other types of entertainment activities.
The centre of attraction on the final day, are the ghats (river banks) of Varanasi. All the 88 ghats in Varanasi are illuminated with millions of fixed and floating lamps; the buildings along the ghats are also decorated with colorful lights and oil lamps. The view has been stated as mesmerizing and breathtaking by the tourists who have witnessed it. The ghats are also decorated with flowers and colorful rangolis. Floral paintings are also made by volunteers to add to the beauty.
Other major attraction of the day is the remembrance of martyrs at Amar Javan Jyoti, Dashashwamedh Ghat. People and officials play floral wreath to the martyrs, amid the songs of patriotism and nationalism. The traditional last post is also performed by the three armed forces. Maa Ganga Sewa Nidhi also presents Bhagirathi Shaurya Samman to the relatives and dependents of martyrs.
Thousands of locals and tourists hire boats to witness the sparkling beauty of the ghats and adjacent buildings. The government also makes elaborate security arrangements for the visitors.
Though, the aarti (veneration) of Lord Shiva is performed every evening at Dashashwamedh Ghat; on the evening of Dev Deepawali, it is especially mesmerizing with the view sparkling ghats in the background.
Dev Deepawali Rituals – Hindu
Devotees begin their day on Dev Diwali by taking a Kartik Snan (bathing) in the holy water of Ganges. After bathing in holy water, devotees visit Kashi Vishwanath temple to bathe their revered deity Shiva with the water from holy Ganges. Shiva and Ganesha are the two deities revered especially on Dev Diwali. Many devotees could be seen venerating the mud Shivlingas they themselves made. Many households perform Sundar Kand Path on Dev Diwali to welcome the Gods.
People decorate their houses with flowers and decorative lights. Colorful rangolis are made at the entrance of houses. In the evening devotees visit the ghats of River Ganges, to light diyas (oil lamps) in the auspicious time of Purnima Tithi, when the Gods are believed to descend into the holy river.
Significance of Kartik Purnima in Jainism
Jains celebrate Kartik Purnima by visiting the pilgrimage city of Palitana, in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. The first of the Jain Tirthankaras – Adinatha, is believed to have meditated here.
Thousand of Jain devotees visit Shatrunjay hills on Kartik Purnima, an auspicious day to start the auspicious journey to the Lord Adinath temple at hill top. This yatra (journey) is called Sri Shatrunjay Teerth Yatra which passes through rough mountainous terrain to the temple.
The temple had been remained closed during the Chaturmas and is made open for the devotees on the day of Kartik Purnima. Jains believed that Adinatha delivered his first sermon on the hills and many ascetics have attained salvation on the hills.
Legend of Dev Deepawali
One of the names of the festival – Tripurari Purnima has been derived from the demon named Tripurasur. Tripurasur is a combined name given to the three sons of demon Tarkasur. Tarkasur’s three sons – Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha and Viryavana meditated and worshipped Lord Brahma for thousands of years.
Brahma thus granted a boon to them giving indestructible forts each, built in heaven, sky and earth. The forts were to meet together every thousand years and could only be destroyed by a single arrow. This combined fort was to be called Tripura.
The demons thus began to flourish in the heaven, sky and hell after getting the boon for almost immortality. This worried the Gods who requested Shiva to intervene. However, Shiva declined stating the fact that the demons have done no harm to invoke his anger. Then the Gods approached Vishnu, who suggested that the only way to kill the demons is by persuading them to sin and evoking Shiva’s wrath.
Vishnu created a man with shaved head and of ascetic appearance. He instructed the man to descend to Tripura and preach a new religion. Impressed by the new preacher and his teachings the demons got converted and stopped worshipping Shiv Linga. This was enough to invoke Shiva’s anger and he killed the demons, destroying the forts as they were just about to meet.
This is believed to be done on Kartik Purnima which is celebrated as Dev Diwali by Hindus. Hindus believe that the Gods descended to Kashi on this day to celebrate Lord Shiva’s victory over Tripura and killing of Tripurari, by lighting diyas.
Jains believe that the bald headed religious preacher created by Vishnu, who taught a new religion, was none other than Jainism’s first Tirthankara – Adinath, and he gave his first sermons on Shatrunjay Hills, Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
Dev Deepawali – History
Dev Deepawali is celebrated on Kartik Purnima every year. Though, the custom of lighting earthen diyas on Kartik Purnima was reverently observed since ages; however it was abandoned due to shortage of funds. But the custom appeared again almost surprisingly in 1985 at Panchganga Ghat. Since then the festival has gradually spread from ghats to ghats and has today taken the form of almost a national event.
Dev Deepawali – Significance
Dev Diwali is a major Hindu festival celebrated with religious reverence by the Hindus, not only in Varanasi but also in other parts of India. Devotees consider the day auspicious and believe that venerating their revered deities on this day will fulfill their wishes. The day also signifies the destruction of evil (Tripurasur) and the triumph of good (Shiva).
The festival also holds much importance for tourism industry and other aligned businesses. Huge influx of tourists opens up ample business opportunities for the unemployed and also gives a boost to existing businesses. Tourism based businesses generate more profit during the festival, than they would in a complete year. Hotels, lodges, small vendors, boat men including the auto drivers get a good amount of income during the festival.
The way the festival is celebrated, gives an insight into Indian culture and religions. Many cultural programs are organized based on religion, music, poetry etc. It provides a platform to new talents, by letting people know about their skills.
The day on which Dev Diwali is celebrated i.e. Kartik Purnima, is an auspicious day for Sikhs and Jains as well. Jains believe it to be the best day to visit one of their much revered pilgrimage site – Lord Adinath Temple on Shatrunjay hills, in the town of Palitana, in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. Sikhs, also celebrate the birthday of their first and most revered Guru – Guru Nanak Dev, on Kartik Purnima.