According to the Panchang (Hindu calendar), Diwali is celebrated on the Amavasya date of Kartik Month. The whole world celebrates Diwali on the very same day. Varanasi also celebrates its Diwali on Amavasya but in addition to this, it also celebrates Diwali on Purnima of the same month. The Diwali on Purnima is known as Dev Diwali. It is said that Gods descend to celebrate lord Shiva’s triumph over Tripurasura.
On Dev Diwali, all 87 ghats of Varanasi get lightened by millions of Diyas (earthen lamps). People from all over the world come to witness this heavenly spectacle.
Ravidas ghat in the south to Raj ghat in north all 87 ghats are crowded by thousands of visitors who take a dip in holy Ganga and then do ‘Deepdan’. During this ceremony, many diyas align the stairs of the ghat and the place shines like a stairway to Heaven. The water of Ganga shines in the full moon and a boat ride in such an ineffable atmosphere will be a lifetime experience.
The most exciting places to visit in Varanasi during Diwali or Dev Diwali are Ghats, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Sankat mochan mandir, Banaras Hindu University and Ramnagar fort.
Varanasi at the time of Dev Deepavali is best for tourism. Ganga takes its best form, migratory birds from Serbia come all the way to Varanasi, and Maliyo ( a dish cooked in winter dew) is enjoyed widely.
So if you plan to visit Varanasi any time soon then mark November 18 on your calendar. Bask in the glory of the Ganges on Dev Deepavali.