The festival of lights that is popularly called ‘Diwali’ is the most-awaited one, and is observed delightfully. It is celebrated for several days in most parts of India. But in Varanasi, the celebration does not end with the Laxmi Puja. In fact, the festivity further continues for another fifteen days when on the full moon day of Kartika month comes Dev Deepavali. As the name suggests, it is the “Diwali of the Gods.” The zest of the people of Varanasi does not drop down after celebrating the main Diwali. They celebrate the “Festival of Lights of the Gods” with the same spirit, dedication, and energy.
The Dev Deepavali Festival in Varanasi is a major attraction for locals, national and foreign tourists. To observe this day, millions of clay lamps are lighted on the step of most of the ghats. The lamps are lighted in the honour of Mother Ganga and all the presiding goddess. The light showered by the full moon, and the earthen lamps illuminate the Ganga river and the ghats. This spectacle is enjoyed by thousands of people. Some even take a boat ride from one ghat to another and soothe their eyes, and hearts. A large statue of Mother Ganga and idols of other gods are taken out in a procession in the streets of Varanasi. The crowd in the procession dances to the religious songs, chant mantras, drumbeats, and burn firecrackers as well.
Not only the ghats, but all the buildings and apartments in Varanasi bathe in the lights of earthen lamps. People flock to the riverfront to witness the magnificent day of the year and offer prayers. The honour to perform the main aarti is given to 21 young Brahmin priests and 24 girls. The priests blow the conch shell and light the brazier. The aarti is followed by chanting of hymns, and the rhythmic beats of drums. To see the festival of Dev Deepavali in Varanasi and be a part of the aarti is a fulfilling experience.