Varanasi, Nov 13 (UNI) A sea of devotees this evening congregated at the historic Ganga ghat here to witness the world famous Dev Deepawali Mahotsava.
The mahotsava is celebrated every year to mark Kartika Poornima on Ganga ghats in the holy city of Varanasi.
In the last five years, the Dev Deepawali Mahotsava has gained strength and become a 'Pride of Benaras,' and also an international event. Devotees in large number from across the world arrive in the holy city to witness this festival of illumination of lamps. A long row of earthen lamps on the ghat and in the middle stream of Ganga offered by the devotees looked as if the heaven has descended on earth.
Defence forces with the active support of Ganga Sewa Nidhi blew last post to the martyrs of the nation and the helicopters of head quarters Central Air command, Allahabad, dropped flower petals at the replica of India Gate at Dashswamedh ghat, the Central ghat here. The Samiti also honoured three brave martyrs with 'Bhagirath Shourya Samman.' This pious gesture was followed by divine Ganga maha aarati and festival of music.
The officers and jawans of Central Air command, Allahabad, including Air Marshal P P Rajkumar, head quarters Central command Lucknow, four Air Force selection board, Varanasi, CRPF and police were present on the occasion.
Akashdeeps were also lighted by the jawans of 39 Gorakha Training centre.
Dev Deepawali has a mythological legend that the first ruler of Kashi (varanasi) Debodasa, being annoyed with the Gods and Goddesses, banned their entry into Banaras. The Gods and Goddesses, however, in disguise entered Banaras for a holy dip at Panchganga ghat, where four rivers confluence with the Ganga.
After persuasion, Debodasa withdrew the ban and the Gods and Goddesses came to Banaras to celebrate their victory with lights on Kartika Poornima. Since then in commemoration, the Dev Deepawali festival is celebrated every year.
According to another interpretation, the Gods observe victory day on Kartika Purnima to celebrate the killing of demon Tripurasur by Lord Shiva. Legend say Dev Deepawali was celebrated in the memory of the martyrs of the Mahabharat war. The lamps were lit to brighten their path to heaven.
Altogether 21 young pandits stood in a neat group on a three-tier stage at Dashswamedh ghat. They were dressed in bright silk dhoti-kurtas with decorated pooja plates spread in front of them, while young girls in sumptuous Banarasi sarees waved feather fans from behind.
The puja was in accordance with the vedic rites followed in many Hindu homes, quite like the aarati in Rishikesh and Hardwar.
The District Administration had made adequate security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident on the occasion.
UNI JL JAS PY RK1903