If you love the Festival of Lights, Diwali, you will love the Dev Deepawali celebrations in Varanasi. A major religious as well as tourist attraction of Uttar Pradesh, Dev Deepawali is being celebrated on Friday, November 4 this year. A 6-hour drive to Varanasi from Lucknow or a train journey of approximately the same duration, can take you to an experience of a lifetime.
WHAT IS DEV DEEPAWALI?
Dev Deepawali is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Kartik every year. It falls on the 15th day of Diwali. The ghats on the river Ganga are lit up with thousands of diyas, making it a sight to behold for people of every faith. The diyas are lit to welcome the Gods, who, it is believed, descend to bathe in the river Ganga on this day. The Uttar Pradesh Tourism organises a 4-day cultural event called the Ganga Mahotsav, which culminates with Dev Deepawali.
For more details on Ganga Mahotsav, check the UP Tourism website: https://goo.gl/aGBELE
WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO?
If it is the awe-inspiring view of the diyas on the banks of the river Ganga that you want to catch, evening is the time to head to the ghats. All the 84 ghats of Varanasi are lit up with earthen diyas and have their own Ganga Aarti in the evening on Dev Deepawali. However, the main aarti that you must attend is at Dashashwamedh Ghat. Reach the ghat by 5.30 pm, as the aarti begins at 6.45 pm. Ideally, take a bajra, or a boat, and watch the aarti from the river itself to catch the most magnificent view. You can book boat rides in advance too, for approximately Rs. 1000-1500 per person.
ORGANISED TOURS AND PHOTO WALKS
This is also a festival that attracts photography enthusiasts from across the world. Several photo walks and photo tours are organised during the Dev Deepawali festival. Travel and tour companies also organise special tours for visitors to enjoy a guided experience of the festival. Bookings happen well in advance, so don’t bank on last-minute plans. In fact, hotel rooms also run out fast as the tourist inflow in the city is high on the occasion. You will do well to plan your travel as much before-hand as you can.