Dev Deepavali is a holy Hindu annual event that is mainly celebrated by natives in the ancient city of Varanasi in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Dev Deepavali is regarded as the Diwali of the Gods and Goddesses. Dev means God, Guru or Lord. Dev Deepavali is also called Dev Diwali and Tripurotsav. ‘Tripur’ part of Tripurotsav refers to the demon Tripurasur. Otsav or Utsav means festival. It is a separate festivity to the Hindu festival of Diwali.
Varanasi is also called Kashi and Banaras. Varanasi is considered holy in many religions. Varanasi is believed to be formed by Lord Shiva. There are more than a thousand temples in this area, many along the about 84 ghats.
The date of Dev Deepavali celebration is determined according to Hindu lunar calendar; the date, Tithi, falls on the full moon in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik. It is also called Kartik Poornima. This corresponds to the Gregorian period November-December. Dev Diwali falls about 15 days after the main Diwali day.
The day Dev Diwali marks the victory of one of top three Hindu deities Lord Shiva over the demon Tripurasur. Dev Deepavali also marks the final day of another 5-day festival called Ganga Mahotsav that is also held in Varanasi. Ganga Mahotsav starts with the event Prabodhini Ekadashi and ends with Dev Diwali.
Many Hindu Priests chant Mantras, recite Bhajans and perform Aartis, Pujas, prayers etc, especially on the Ghats, river side, of the river Ganges, the mother Ganga. Many pilgrims visit these ghats every year at this time. Many devotees wake up early in the morning and take a holy dip in the sacred Mother Ganga river. Countless Diyas, oil lamps, are lit and many floated on viewing the moon.
Visiting Varanasi at this time is not only a holy pilgrimage for the Hindus, but also an attraction for other domestic and international tourists, especially to witness the ancient Indian culture, values, heritage etc. The day temperature is very pleasant and nights are cold at this time in Varanasi. For many Hindus, visiting Varanasi, which is among the top 7 Hindu sacred places, consider it a must visit place.
A Mantra for Lord Shiva is—
Om Namah Shivaya
ॐ नमः शिवाय