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Sudhanshu Anand Oct 09 2014

What are the Dev Diwali Celebrations in Varanasi?

Etti Bali Oct 09 2014
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The Dev Diwali Celebrations in Varanasi are organized every year to mark the descent of the Hindu gods on earth. The festival celebrates the Devas as it is believed that on this day, the supreme Lord Vishnu returned to his abode on the Vaikuntha. During the 4-day celebration, the ghats are lit with thousands of oil-lamps or diyas and a multitude of Hindu devotees visit the city. The main attraction of the festivities is the Ganga aarti performed at the ghats.


Ganga Aarti at the Ghats (by Arian Zwegers)

Dev Diwali is held on the 15th day after Diwali as a tribute to the River Ganga. Dev Diwali 2014 celebrations will commence on the Kartik Poornima on 6 November. A 12 feet statue of Goddess Ganga is a drawing point for devotees and tourists alike. Devotees take a holy dip in the Ganges early in the morning. This practice is known as the Kartik Snan. The Maha Aarti and the Ganga Mahotsav are organized on the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Artists and performers from all over the country come to perform at the Ganga Mahotsav, adding zest to the cultural celebrations.


A priest conducting the Maha Aarti (by Chris Shervey)

The Ghats


The ghats of Varanasi are the city's lifeline. It is where the city becomes Kashi--the oldest city in the world. Every ghat has a story behind it and you can spend hours here exploring the history and culture of the city. The famed Tulsi Ghat is the place where Tulsidas is believed to have written the Ramcharitmanas.


Early morning at the Dashashwamedh Ghat (by Bobinson K B)

The Chet Singh Ghat is famous for the Ramnagar Fort built by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh. It is believed that Goddess Parvati’s earing had fallen in a pool during a tapasya and the place came to be known as the Manikarnika Ghat . At the Dashashwamedh Ghat, it is believed that Lord Brahma sacrificed 10 horses. It is also the place where the Maha Aarti is held during Dev Diwali Celebrations in Varanasi.


Ramnagar Fort (by Adam Jones)

The Temples

Varanasi is known as the religious capital of the country, and rightly so! The temples in Varanasi are a sight to behold. The holy city is where the zeal for life lies in stark contrast to the reality of death. From the burning ghats ablaze with cremation fires, to the towering temples celebrating the creators of the universe--Kashi is brimming with life and the will to live!


Kashi Vishwanath Temple (by Ramon)

The famous Sankat Mochan Temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and a visit to it is believed to take all your troubles away. At the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, devotees of Lord Shiva are believed to get freedom or Moksha from the cycle of death and rebirth. The Kedareshwara Temple is located on the Kedar Ghat and is believed to be as sacred as the Kedareshwar Temple in the Himalayas.


Kedareshwara Temple (by Dennis Jarvis)

Benaras Hindu University

A visit to the city of Varanasi is incomplete without a visit to the Benaras Hindu University or BHU. The University houses 3 institutes, 14 faculties, 140 departments and a women's college. The university also has a museum--Bharat Kala Bhavan, which houses a collection of rare treasures and artefacts. The faculty and students from Faculty of Performing Arts take part in the Ganga Mahotsav with great zeal.


Faculty of Arts, BHU (by Aleksandr Zykov)

The Food

While enjoying the Dev Diwali Celebrations in Varanasi, don’t forget to taste the lip-smacking food. The best way to try out the local fare is on the streets! There are many restaurants and stand-alone stalls that have become famous for dishing out the tastiest cuisine. Try out the chaats at Mahadev Chat Bhandar at Assi Ghat, and thandai at Shri Chandramohan Pathak Thandai Shop, or eat to your heart's delight at Madhur Milan Cafe!


Madhur Milan Cafe (by Yusuke Kawasaki)

Once in Varanasi, you cannot leave without trying the original Banarasi Paan. The paan is the pride of Banaras. Experience the explosion of flavours with just one mouthful. You'll want to come back for more!


Banarasi Paan (by Y'amal)

The Hotels

Varanasi is a melting pot of cultures--both Indian and global. Where at once you'll see ascetics covered with the holy ashes, on the other hand you'll see international tourists shopping for sarees and jewelry. There are many hotels in Varanasi that suit all budgets.

This year, plan a trip to experience the grand Dev Diwali Celebrations in Varanasi. The sights and sounds of the holy city will stay with you for a lifetime!
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