The full moon day of the Karthika Month of the lunar calendar is one of the most auspicious days for a Hindu. Kartika Month is the only month in which both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are worshipped. Kartika Pouranmi or Kartika Poornima is also one of the days when the temples of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are full with the devotees wanting a darshan of their deities.
The other names of Kartika Poornima are Deva Deepawali or Deva Diwali, Tripuri Poornima or Tripurari Purnima.
Katika Poornima is also celebrated as the day on which Lord Vishnu incarnated as Matsya or Matsyavatram happened on Karthika Purnima. Matsyavatara was to save Manu from the Maha Pralaya.
Dev Deepawali or Deva Deepavali – Dev Deepawali is celebrated in Varanasi and other northern parts of India . It is believed that Lord Shiva killed Tripurasura on Kartika Purnima and hence Gods celebrated by lighting diyas. In Varansi all the Ghats are lighted with diyas. It is a visual delight. Not only the Ghats but almost all the houses in Varanasi also decorated with diyas.
Tripura Poornima – Lord Shiva killed the demon Tripurasura on Karthika Purnima and hence the name Tripura Purnima or Tipurari Purnima. Karthika Purniam is also associated with Prabodini Ekadasi. Prabodini Ekadasi marks the end of the four month long Chaturmas Vrat. A lot of fairs and festivities which begin on Prabodini Ekadasi end on Kartika Poornima.
Rituals on Karthika Purnima
Nadi Snan or River Bath –
The common rituals of Karthika Purnima are having a river bath and praying to Lord Shiva and observing a fast for the whole day. Devotees would prefer to have a bath in the holy rivers as it is believed that by simply performing the Nadi Snan or river bath in the Kartika Month one gets a lot of virtue and if it is on Kartika Purnima the virtue is multi folded.
If a devotee is able to perform the Tripura Purnima Snan, the bath that is performed in Varanasi in the holy river Ganga it is believed that the virtue of the bath would bring Salvation. All the steps in the Ghats of the river Ganga in Varanasi are lit with diyas.
Lighting of Lamps in Temple or Near Tulsi –
Devotees would visit the temple of Lord Shiva and lit lamps. A pack of 365 wicks is usually lit. Each wick is for each day of the year. Some devotees would light a wick on the floats made from the stems of the Banana Tree and set it afloat on the river. Few devotees would also give Deepa Danam or donate a lit diya. Devotees also would lit the diya infront of Tulsi plant, where the idols of Radha and Krishna are kept.
Performing of Satya Narayana Vrat –
One of the most auspicious days for performing the Satya Narayana Swamy Vrat is Karthika Purnima. Karthika Purnima is one of the favorite days of Lord Vishnu.Hence devotees would prefer and try their level best to perform the SatyaNarayana Vrat on Karthika Purnima. The virtue of performing the SatyaNarayana Vrat on Karthika Purnima is multi folded when compared to performing the same on other days.
Performing of Ekadasi Rudra Abhishekam – Almost all the temples of Lord Shiva would perform the Ekadasi Rudra Abhishekam on Kartika Poornima. It is bathing Lord Shiva by chanting the Rudra Chamakam and Rudra Namakam Eleven times. Before performing the Ekadasa Rudra Abhishekam the body has to be cleansed by reciting the Mahanyasam. It is believed that by performing the Ekadasi Rudra Abhishekam on Karthika Purnima one would get free of all the sins and would get salvation.
Other festivals on Karthika Pournami or Kartik Purnima – Karthika Purnima is also the birth day of Sri Guru Nanak and is celebrated with great devotion by Sikhs. Even for Jains Karthika Purnima is a big festival and is celebrated with great devotion.
Fairs and Tourism on Karthika Pournami or Kartik Purnima
Ganga Mahotsav –
A tourist centric festival which is organized in Varnasi which is five day long festival. The Ganga Mahotsav starts on Prabodini Ekadasi and ends on Karthika Purnima. The festival showcases the rich heritage and culture of Varanasi. Country boat races, Melas and ends with the lighting of all the Ghats with over a million earthen diyas on the Karthika Purnima day. On Karthika Purnima Arati is given to the holy river Ganga or Goddess Ganga.
Pushkar Fair of Rajasthan –
Pushkar Fair of Rajasthan start on Prabodhini Ekadasi and ends on Kartika Purnima. The fair is organized in Pushkar of Rajasthan in the honour of God Brahma. There is a temple of Lord Brahma in Pushkar. Devotees throng this temple and would take a bath in the Pushkar lake. It is believed that by taking a bath in the Pushkar Lake one gets the virtue to get salvation. Pushkar fair is also the largest camel fair of Asia.
Ananthagiri Jatara – A fair or mela or Jatara is organized at the Ananthagiri Padmanabha swamy temple in Andhra Pradesh.
Boita Bandana – Boita Bandana is celebrated in Orissa on Kartika Poornima. Devotees would prepare a boat from cork and colored paper and set them afloat. Some use the bark of the Banana tree for the same.
Kartikeshwar Idols in Cuttack –
In Cuttack huge idols of Kartikeshwara are built and worshipped on Kartika Poornima. These idols are then taken out as procession in the evening and immersed in river Mahanadi.