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Dev Diwali celebrated in Varanasi: lakhs take holy dip in Ganga, light earthen lamps

NEW DELHI, Nov 8: Dev Diwali was celebrated in Varanasi on Monday, when, it is believed by the Hindus that all the Gods visit the holy city. Thousands of devotees took holy dip in the Ganga and floated lakhs of diyas (earthen lamps) along the ghats in the evening. Tourists also thronged the ghats to witness the colourful sights.

According to Hindu mythology, Dev Diwali (Diwali of Gods) or Dev Deepavali is the celebration of the victory of Hindu God Lord Shiva over Tripurasura demon. All the Gods descended on Kashi and lit lamps along the Ganga to celebrate the day on Kartik Purnima and thank Lord Shiva for killing Tripurasura who tormented all people and the Gods alike. Dev Diwali is also called Tripurotsav or Tripurari Purnima.

While Diwali is celebrated all over India to celebrate the arrival of Lord Ram to the kingdom of Ayodhya after killing demon king Ravana, Dev Diwali is celebrated in Varanasi to commemorate Lord Shiva's victory over Tripurasura.

It is spread over five days from Prabodhini Ekadashi (11th lunar day of Kartika), culminating on Kartik Poornima. As per English calendar the day falls in late October or early November. By Hindu almanac, it is always on the 15th day of Kartik month which will be Purnima (full moon). Besides, Dev Diwali comes 15 days after Diwali. However, this year, Dev Diwali was celebrated on November 7, Monday, while Purnima (full moon) is on November 8, Tuesday. That is, Dev Diwali falls across November 7 and 8 this year.

The word 'Diwali' is a corrupted version of 'Deepavali' where 'Deep' means light and 'avali' means rows, meaning festival of lights.

The day is also celebrated by Jains as Festival of Lights. Kartik Purnima also marks the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev which is celebrated as Gurupurab or Prakash Utsav or Guru Nanak Jayanti by the Sikhs.

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