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Dev Deepavali on the Ganges, Varanasi

Dev Deepavali or “the Diwali of the Gods” is the festival of Kartik Poornima celebrated in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, fifteen days after Diwali. The gods are believed to descend to Earth to bathe in the Ganges on this day. The steps of all the ghats on the riverfront of the Ganges River, from Ravidas Ghat at the southern end to Rajghat, are lit with more than a million earthen lamps (diyas) in honour of Ganga, the presiding goddess. The tradition of lighting the lamps on the Dev Deepavali festival day was first started at the Panchganga Ghat in 1985.

During Dev Deepavali, houses are decorated with oil lamps and coloured designs on their front doors. Firecrackers are burnt at night, processions of decorated deities are taken out into the streets of Varanasi, and oil lamps are set afloat on the river. To mark the occasion and also to showcase the cultural heritage of Varanasi, the Uttar Pradesh Tourism department organises a four-day Ganga Mahotsav around this period.