Banganga turns into a sea of lamps as Mumbaikars celebrate Dev Deepawali

Mumbai, Dec 7: The ritual of Dev Deepavali, celebrated two weeks after Diwali, began in Mumbai only in 2016, but it is evident that city residents have embraced the practice. Ten days ago on November 26, a crowd of several thousand visited Banganga Tank in Walkeshwar for what is now an annual event.

Banganga Tank is a prominent heritage structure in South Mumbai, perfectly picturesque and suitable for the celebrations marking the Diwali of the Gods. This tradition involves illuminating the temple with diyas, echoing the grandeur of Varanasi’s iconic Ganga Aarti. Notably, the celebration was halted for two consecutive years, 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic. Despite this hiatus, the festival has steadily gained popularity, drawing devotees from across the city and beyond.

Just 7 years old in Mumbai, Dev Deepavali attracts thousands to Walkeshwar each

Organized by the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Temple trust in collaboration with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), Dev Deepavali (or Kartik Purnima) carries profound significance in Hindu culture. The festivities include the illumination of thousands of diyas, creating a captivating display at the holy site in Walkeshwar. No less than 4000 were lit this time.

Commencing at 6:30 pm, the event was inaugurated by Gauranga Prabhu, a leader from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON). The ceremony featured a bhajan and chanting of religious hymns such as “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna” and “Jai Shree Ram.” Traditional dances, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of dhol tasha, added to the vibrancy of the celebration, with both men and women actively participating in the festivities.

This year’s Dev Diwali coincided with the 550th celebration of Guru Nanak Jayanti, enhancing the cultural and religious significance of the event. The highlight of the evening was the three-tiered Maha Aarti, a grand ceremony conducted at the center of the tank. The flickering diyas, reflecting in the still waters of the tank, created a mesmerizing spectacle.

Two women make a fetching spectacle as they participate in the rituals, lit up by diyas decorated with flowers and sindoor.
Two women make a fetching spectacle as they participate in the rituals, lit up by diyas decorated with flowers and sindoor.

Reflecting on the experience, attendees expressed their awe and appreciation, Jiya Bhagat, a 24-year-old attendee, described the event as “overwhelming and breathtaking. It emphasizes the Maha Aarti’s powerful reminder of the divine light within each person”.

Neal Dsouza, a 21-year-old photographer, highlighted the challenges posed by rain, affecting the overall experience for photographers who come to attend functions. But he got food pictures.

Written by St Pauls Institute (SPICE) PG Students, Sidhant Shekhar, Vaishnavi Rasanbhaire

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