Diwali, as we all know, is the grandest festival for Hindus not only in India but around the world. The festival is observed as the day when Lord Ram and Laxman returned to Ayodhya after defeating Raavan, who had kidnapped the former’s wife. The story is a part of the Hindu epic Ramayana.

But not many would know that there is also a festival called Dev Diwali, which is also known as Dev Deepawali. It is the festival of Kartik Poornima. It takes place in the month of Kartik 15 days after Diwali. This year (2021) it falls on 18 November.

As per the name, Dev Diwali is celebrated by the devas (Gods). The festival celebrates the triumph of Lord Shiva over three asuras (demons).

As per a legend, there was an asura named Tarakasura who had three evil sons Tarakaksha, Vidyunmali and Kamalaksha. After performing intense penance, Lord Brahma got impressed with the three of them and granted them a boon. They asked for the boon of immortality.

But as that was against the nature of laws, as in every human has to die, Brahma refused. He blessed them with a boon that would ensure that all three of them can die only if they are killed by a single arrow.

Delighted at getting the boon and driven by arrogance, the three evil brothers started creating havoc in the three worlds and made life miserable for its occupants. As nobody was able to stop them, Lord Shiva took the avatar of Tripurari and killed them with a single arrow.

This was enough reason for the Gods to celebrate the occasion and hence, the festival of Dev Diwali came into existence.

Dev Diwali is celebrated in various parts of India. But the most elaborate and grandest festivities are seen in Varanasi (also known as Banaras and Kashi). The ghats of river Ganga in the holy city are illuminated with plenty of diyas (lamps) and lights. It is also believed that Gods ascend at Varanasi on this day to celebrate the festival.