Come winter, I look forward to travelling to Varanasi on the occasion of Dev Diwali. A festival not to be confused with Diwali, this is celebrated two weeks after Diwali, more commonly called Karthika Poornima festival in many parts of the country.
On the evening of Dev Diwali, the three-kilometer long ghats–steps leading to Ganga–are all lit with thousands of small earthen oil lamps. The entire stretch appears as though stars have arrived on earth for an excursion. It’s believed that the entire pantheon of ghats descend on earth for a dip in Ganga on this day. Pilgrims too arrive in the ghats in large numbers on the occasion of Dev Diwali, and Panchganga Ghat becomes the most favoured bathing place for the day.
The above photograph was made during this year’s Dev Diwali, which was two weeks ago, when I was leading a photography tour in Varanasi.