Varanasi impatiently awaits Dev Diwali.
Varanasi impatiently awaits Dev Diwali.(Photo: Reuters)
  • 1. What is Kaashi’s Dev Diwali?
  • 2. What is the Legend of Dev Diwali?
  • 3. A Boost to Varanasi's Economy
  • 4. Politics Over Dev Diwali
Dev Diwali: When the Gods Visit Varanasi to Celebrate

At Varanasi’s Assi Ghat, Pradeep Kumar is busy decorating his bajda, a big boat. For the last few years, his bajda has outshone all the others. And Kumar wants to ensure his bajda stands out this year too. It is, after all, Dev Diwali, a night Varanasi eagerly awaits.

On this day, most boatmen earn within a few hours what would otherwise take them months. Pradeep’s boat usually earns him around Rs 3,000-6,000 per ride. But on Dev Diwali, his prized bajda is booked for as much as Rs 1,80,000 for a three-hour period.

Pradeep plans to use this year’s earnings to buy a new engine for his boat. He shares his enthusiasm with the rest of Varanasi, with everything from the ghats and mutths to shops and hotels all decked up for the festival.

But what is the importance of Dev Diwali, and what is it that makes Varanasi impatiently wait for the festival every year?

  • 1. What is Kaashi’s Dev Diwali?

    In Varanasi, Dev Diwali is celebrated 15 days after Diwali, on the night of kaartik purnima (the 15th lunar day of Kaartik, ie, November-December).

    This year, the festival falls on 22 November.

    The Ganga Mahotsav is a five-day long affair. The 87 ghats in Varanasi, spread out over a 7 km radius, are decorated with thousands of diyas. As evening falls, the serene waters of the Ganga reflect the flickering lights, a stunning spectacle that draws tourists from around the world.

    Decorating the ghats with diyas is an old tradition, but a shortage of funds resulted in the practice being abandoned for a few years after the whole of panchganga ghat was illuminated all at once in 1989. The tradition was revived in 1993; Gradually, it spread from ghat to ghat, soon becoming an annual event.

    Varanasi impatiently awaits Dev Diwali.
    File photo of a child lighting a lamp in Varanasi during Dev Diwali.
    (Photo: Reuters)

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