In Photos: On Kartik Purnima, Varanasi Decks Up For Dev Diwali
Varanasi eagerly awaits the festival of Dev Diwali.
Varanasi eagerly awaits the festival of Dev Diwali.

In Photos: On Kartik Purnima, Varanasi Decks Up For Dev Diwali

The ghats of Varanasi are all decked up for Dev Diwali, a festival that takes place 15 days after Diwali. This year its being celebrated on 4 November.

The 87 ghats in Varanasi are adorned with diyas as devotees come to take part in the Ganga Mahotsav, a five-day long affair. As evening falls, the serene waters of the Ganga reflect the flickering lights, a stunning spectacle that draws tourists from around the world.

According to the shastras (an Indian text), this is the day when Lord Shiva defeated the Tripurasurs. To celebrate his triumph, the gods lit diyas. It is believed that on this day, all the gods descend from heaven to Shiv’s town Kaashi on the banks of the Ganges to celebrate Diwali.

Devotees throng the ghats of Varanasi.
Devotees throng the ghats of Varanasi.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)

Also Read: Dev Diwali: When the Gods Visit Varanasi to Celebrate

A priest at a Varanasi ghat.
A priest at a Varanasi ghat.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
Sending wishes through a diya.
Sending wishes through a diya.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
Thousands of people gather in Varanasi for Dev Diwali.
Thousands of people gather in Varanasi for Dev Diwali.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)

Devotees take dips in the Ganga and donate to charity. Huge crowds of pilgrims come down the ghats for Ganga snaan on the morning of kaartik purnima. Millions of diyas light up the night, all the way from Ravidas ghat to the last edge of Rajghat, to pay homage to Maa Ganga.

Taking the holy dip.
Taking the holy dip.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
Taking a dip in the Ganges.
Taking a dip in the Ganges.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
Offering prayers to the Sun god.
Offering prayers to the Sun god.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
Age is just a number when it comes to faith.
Age is just a number when it comes to faith.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)

The tradition of celebrating Dev Diwali is barely 25 years old, but today it is hard to imagine Varanasi without it. The festival plays a huge role in the city’s economy. There are about 600 hotels in Varanasi, of which 90 are five and seven star hotels. Come Dev Diwali, and all the hotels in the area are booked to full capacity on premium rates.

Decorators getting ready for Dev Diwali.
Decorators getting ready for Dev Diwali.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
A woman awaits as her family takes the holy dip in Varanasi’s ghats.
A woman awaits as her family takes the holy dip in Varanasi’s ghats.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)

Tight security arrangements have also been made this year for the festival.

Traffic police ready to manage the crowd.
Traffic police ready to manage the crowd.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
A police official looks on.
A police official looks on.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)

This is only festival in Varansi for which hotels are booked a year in advance. On this day, most boatmen earn within a few hours what would otherwise take them months. The bajda boats that can be rented out for about Rs 5,000 on usual days, can cost up to Rs 2,00,000 during this time.

The festival is a bog economic boost for boatmen.
The festival is a bog economic boost for boatmen.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
A boatman in Varanasi.
A boatman in Varanasi.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
Dev Diwali, a lucrative time for the boatmen.
Dev Diwali, a lucrative time for the boatmen.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)
A snakecharmer in Varanasi.
A snakecharmer in Varanasi.
(Photo: The Quint/ Abhishek Ranjan)

Read the full story on the significance of Dev Diwali on The Quint.