Celebrations, Festivals, Melas of Varanasi

Dev Deepavali, the second Diwali of Banaras

15 days after the festival of Deepavali (or Diwali), on full-moon evening of the Kartik month, the festival of Dev Deepavali is celebrated in the city of Banaras. One can view hundreds of thousands of diyas illuminating the entire river front, which spreads several miles. A never ending stream of men, women, children, old, young, natives, and tourists flow along the ghats. Fragrances of the clay lamps burning on organic oils, incenses are dissolved in the comfortably temperatured air. There are small tingling dots of lights everywhere you look at. The overall result is mesmerising and the evening may easily become an evening you will never forget.


The unique Ramleela of Ramnagar performed in the pageant style, was started about 1830 by Maharaja Udit Narayan Singh of Banaras, and has today become famous all over the world. Thousands gather to see the enactments during months of September-October.


A five days music festival of Dhrupad is performed by renowned artistes at Tulsi Ghat. It is very popular among foreign tourists.


Celebrating Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile and his reunion with his brother Bharat, this festival is held the day following Dussehra. Attended by the Kashi Naresh resplendent in regal finery, the festival attracts a large number of devotees.


Showing a story from Ramayan in which Surpanakha- the sister of Ravan- comes to entice Ram and then Lakshman. But Lakshman cuts her nose and she goes back crying. This act is enacted as a stage play during mid-October. In the locality of Chetgung. Numerous processions and tableaux are also carried out on the occasion.


On this day every Shiv Mandir is decorated. In Varanasi, marriage procession of Lord Shiva is taken out starting from Mahamrityunjaya temple, Daranagar to Kashi Vishwanath temple via Chowk.


In a performance, Lord Krishna jumps into Ganga for Nag Nathan at the local Tulsi Ghat. It is famous as Nag Nathaiya Leela. Many people congregate to see this event, held during the months of November-December.


It has a special importance in the ancient Parikrama of India, starting and finishing at ManiKarnika Ghat. Each Parikrama passes through five places: Kardmeshwar, Bhimchandi, Rameshwar, Shivpur & Kapil Dhara.


Janmotsav (Appearance day) of Lord Hanuman is celebrated at Sankat Mochan temple for five days with cultural & musical programs by renowned artistes from all over India.


Ganga Mahotsav, the tourism festival of Varanasi is celebrated every year from Prabodhani Ekadashi to Kartik Purnima in the month of October-November. The festival celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Varanasi. Apart from the excellent cultural programs and country boat race, displaying of martial arts also takes place. The concluding day coincides with the unique traditional festival of Dev Deepavali (light festival of Gods), when more than a million earthen lamps (Diyas) are lit on the Ghats of Ganga.

Kashi, the city of Moksha since centuries, is also known for its fine-quality Banarasi silks, banarasi ‘paan’ and Banaras Hindu University.

Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U) founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in 1917A.D is the largest residential University in India.