Deep Daan on Ghats

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The morning sun rises at Ganga ghats and shows another provider of light that performs the function of showing light to one’s ancestors throughout the night in the month of kartik that falls in the winter season. It’s called the deep daan.

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For a definite period of time in the month of kartik, every night, an earthen diya or deep is filled with oil enough to sustain the burning wick’s flame throughout the dark night. The diya is kept in a basket woven with bamboo strip. The wick of the earthen lamp is lit, it’s placed gently in the basket the handle of which is tied to one end of a long rope, and the basket is dragged through a rope to the top of a long bamboo pole.

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Deep daan is done for one’s ancestors (probably in the pitri paksh?) Panchganga Ghat has been historically famous as it has a very large number of bamboo poles positioned here permanently. The process is repeated in countless ghats and houses throughout the month. I remember one such long bamboo pole being used for the same purpose at my rooftop, while my grandmother was alive. In addition to Kedar Ghat, she also used to raise aakash deeps in the month of kartik. There used to be many bamboo poles and baskets lying around in our house then. I liked particularly the bamboo baskets with handle, as they were convenient to carry one’s things in. The poles, we later utilized in catching kites with. But that’s another story.

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