||Date of Observance: 15th of the
Full moon day of
Kartik Poornima (Kartik purnima) is a Hindu holy day celebrated on
the full moon day or the fifteenth lunar day of Kartik
(November–December). It is also known as Tripuri poornima and
Tripurari Poornima. It is sometimes called Deva-Diwali or
Deva-Deppawali - the festival of lights of the gods. The Kartik
Purnima festival also coincides with the Sikh festival of Guru Nanak
Significance in Hinduism
Tripuri poornima or Tripurari Poornima derives its name from
Tripurari - the foe of the demon Tripurasura. Tripurari is an
epithet of god Shiva. Shiva in his form as Tripurantaka ("Killer of
Tripurasura") killed the demon on this day. Tripurasura had
conquered the whole world and defeated the gods. He also created
three cities in space, together called "Tripura". The killing of the
demon and destruction of his cities with a single arrow - by Shiva
overjoyed the gods and they pronounced the day as a festival of
illuminations. This day is also called "Dev-Diwali" - the Diwali of
the gods. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights.
Kartik poornima is also the birthday of Matsya, god Vishnu's
fish-incarnation (Avatar). It is also the birthday of Vrinda, the
personification of the Tulsi plant and of Kartikeya, the god of war
and son of Shiva. This day also is considered dear to Radha, the
lover of Krishna - Vishnu's incarnation. It is believed that Krishna
and Radha danced rasa and Krishna worshipped Radha on this day. This
day is also dedicated to the pitrs, dead ancestors.
Underhill believes that the origins of this festival may lay in
ancient times, when a sacrifice called Shakamedhah was performed to
attain victory over enemies.
Kartik Poornima is closely associated with Prabodhini Ekadashi
which marks the end of Chaturmas, a four-month period when Vishnu is
believed to sleep. Prabodhini Ekadashi signifies the awakening of
the god. Chaturmas penance ends on this day. Many fairs that begin
on Prabodhini Ekadashi end on Kartik Poornima, Kartik Poornima
usually being the most important day of the fair. Fairs that
conclude on this day include Prabodhini Ekadashi celebrations at
Pandharpur and Pushkar Fair. Kartik Poornima is also the last day to
perform Tulsi Vivah ceremony that can be performed from Prabodhini
In Pushkar, Rajasthan, the Pushkar Fair or Pushkar mela commences on
Prabodhini Ekadashi and continues till Kartik Poornima, the latter
being the most important. This fair is held in the honour of god
Brahma, whose temple stands at Pushkar. A ritual bath on Kartik
Poornima in the Pushkar Lake is considered to lead one to salvation.
It is believed circling the three Pushkars on Kartik Poornima is
highly meritorious. Sadhus gather here and stay from ekadashi to
full moon day in caves. About 200,000 people and 25,000 camels
assemble in Pushkar for the fair. Pushkar fair is Asia's largest
A ritual bath at a tirtha (a sacred water body like a lake or river)
at a pilgrimage centre is prescribed on Kartik Poornima. This holy
bath is known as "Kartik snana". An holy bath at Pushkar or in the
Ganges river, especially at Varanasi is deemed as most auspicious.
Kartik Poornima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at
Annakuta, an offering of food to the deities, is held in temples.
People who have taken vows on Ashwin full moon day, end them on
Kartik Poornima. God Vishnu is also worshipped on this day. Any form
of violence (himsa) is prohibited on this day. This includes
shaving, hair-cutting, cutting of trees, plucking of fruits and
flowers, cutting of crops and even, sexual union. Charity especially
donation of cows, feeding of Brahmins, fasting are religious
activities prescribed for Kartik Poornima.
Tripuri Poornima is only next to Mahashivratri, amongst festivals
dedicated to Shiva worship. To commemorate the killing of
Tripurasura, images of Shiva are carried in procession. Temple
complexes in soutern India are lit up throughout the night.
Deepmalas or towers of lights are illuminated in temples. People
place 360 or 720 wicks in temples, to secure escape reaching hell
after death. The 720 wicks symbolizes the 360 days and nights of the
Hindu calenadr. In Varanasi, the ghats come alive with thousands of
diyas (brightly-lit earthen lamps). People gift lamps to priests.
The lamps are kept throughout the night in houses and Shiva temples.
This day is also known as "Kartik Diparatna" - the jewel of lamps in
Kartik. Lights are also floated in miniature boats in rivers. Lights
are placed under Tulsi, Sacred fig and Amla tress. The lights in the
water and under trees are believed to help fishes, insects and birds
who saw the light to attain salvation.
Palitana Jain temples
Kartik Poornima is an important religious day for Jains who
celebrate it by visiting Palitana one of the most famous Jain
pilgrimage centre. Thousands of Jain pilgrims flock to the foothills
of Shatrunjay hills of Palitana taluka on the day of Kartik Poornima
to undertake the auspicious yatra (journey). Also known as the Shri
Shantrunjay Teerth Yatra, this walk is an important religious event
in the life of a Jain devotee, who cover 216 km of rough mountainous
terrain by foot to worship the Lord Adinath temple atop the hill.
Considered as a very auspicious day for Jains, the day also assumes
significance for the walk as the hills, which are closed for public
during the four months of monsoon, are thrown open for the devotees
on Kartik Poornima. The day of Kartik Poornima holds significance in
Jain religion and devotees are kept away from worshipping their lord
for four months of monsoon and hence the first day attracts the
maximum number of devotees. According to Jainism, Adinath, the first
tirthankara, sanctified the hills by visiting it to deliver his
first sermon. According to Jain texts, millions of sadhus and
sadhvis have attained salvation on these hills