Kartika Purnima

(Redirected from Kartik Poornima)

Kartika Purnima (Sanskrit: कार्त्तिकपूर्णिमा, romanizedKārttikapūrṇimā), also known as Kartika Pournami, is a Hindu, Sikh, and Jain cultural festival that is celebrated on purnima (full moon day), the 15th day of the lunar month Kartika. It falls on November or December of the Gregorian calendar and is also known as Tripurari Purnima or Deva-Deepavali, the gods's festival of lights. Karthika Deepam is a related festival that is celebrated in South India and Sri Lanka on a different date. It follows Diwali by about 15 days.

Kartika Purnima
Kartika Purnima: 28 November 2012
Also calledKartika Pournami, Tripuri Purnima, Tripurari Purnima, Deva-Diwali, Deva-Deepawali
Observed byHindus, Sikhs, and Jains
ObservancesPrayers and religious rituals honoring Brahma at Pushkar Lake, puja to Vishnu and Harihara, Bathing at Pushkar Lake and puja to Brahma
DateKartik Purnima
2024 date15 November
Related toVaikuntha Chaturdashi


Here, the five-headed Tripurantaka is seen pointing an arrow towards the Tripura (rightmost top corner) with the bow made of Mount Meru and the serpent Vasuki as its string. The four-headed god Brahma is seen, and the Moon and the Sun are depicted as the wheels of the chariot.



In Vaishnavite tradition, this day is considered significant and special for the worship of both Radha and Krishna. It is believed that on this day, Radha-Krishna performed rasalila with their gopis. At Jagannath Temple, Puri and all other Radha-Krishna temples, a sacred vow is observed throughout Kartika month, and performances of raaslila are organized on the day of Kartika Purnima. According to Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Krishna worshipped Radha on this day.[1]



'Tripuri Purnima' or 'Tripurari Purnima' derives its name from Tripurari – the foe of the demon Tripurasura. In some legends of Kartika Purnima, the term is used to denote the three demon sons of Tārakāsura. Tripurari is an epithet of the god Shiva. Shiva, in his form as Tripurantaka (lit.'Killer of Tripurasura'), killed Tripurasura on this day. Tripurasura had conquered the whole world and defeated the gods and also created three cities in space, together called "Tripura". The killing of the demon(s) and destruction of his/their cities with a single arrow by Shiva overjoyed the gods, and they declared the day as a festival of illuminations. This day is also called "Deva-Diwali"—the Diwali of the gods.[2]

Tulasi and Vishnu


Kartika Purnima is also celebrated as the manifestation day of Matsya, the god Vishnu's fish incarnation (avatar) and Vrinda, the personification of the tulasi.[3] In the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Tulasi is a gopi cursed to be born on earth as a princess and marry Shankacuda, an asura. She remained a devotee of Vishnu and strongly wished to marry the deity. When Shankacuda threatens the existing order with his conquests, invincible owing to the chastity of his wife, Vishnu assumes his form and tricks her into hugging him, causing her to lose her chastity and allowing Shiva to triumph in his battle over the asura. Vishnu then revealed his true form and married her. Tulasi cursed that Vishnu would take the form of a shaligrama stone for his trickery, and to appease her, the deity stated that her essence would become the tulasi plant and the Gandaki river. Her divine form ascended to Vaikuntha to be with him.[4]



In Southern India, Kartika Purnima is also celebrated as the birthday of Kartikeya, the god of war and younger son of Shiva.[1] This day is also dedicated to the pitrs, dead ancestors.[1]

Underhill believes that the origins of this festival may lie in ancient times, when a sacrifice called Shakamedhah was performed to attain victory over enemies.[5]

The festival has even more significance when the day falls in the nakshatra (lunar mansion) of Krittika and is then called Maha Kartika. If the nakshatra is Bharani, the results are stated to be special. If it is Rohini, then the fruitful results are even more. Any philanthropic act on this day is supposed to bring benefits and blessings equal to the performing of ten yajnas.[6]

Meitei culture


Birthday of Classical Manipuri dance


The Manipuri classical dance, a significant cultural heritage of Meitei civilization,[7] was first performed in 1779 CE in the fullmoon of the Hindu holy month of Kartik in the historical Kingdom of Manipur.[8]

“Dance and music play a vital role in the life span of Manipuri people. The most flourishing branch of Manipuri culture is dance. The Manipuri synonym of dance is jagoi and in this dance, body movements create either circle or ellipse. Rasa dance is the finest product of Manipuri culture. Maharaj Bhagyachandra innovated it and it was first performed in Manipur in 1779 in the fullmoon of Kartik.”

— Banglapedia, the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh[9]



Kartika Purnima is closely associated with Prabodhini Ekadashi, which marks the end of the chaturmasya, a four-month period when Vishnu is believed to sleep. Prabodhini Ekadashi signifies the awakening of the god. Many fairs that begin on Prabodhini Ekadashi end on Kartika Purnima, Kartika Purnima usually being the most important day of the fair. Fairs that conclude on this day include Prabodhini Ekadashi celebrations at Pandharpur and Pushkar Fair. Kartika Purnima is also the last day to perform the Tulasi Vivaha ceremony, which can be performed from Prabodhini Ekadashi.[10]

Also, it is believed that on this day, Vishnu returns to his abode after completing his stay with king Bali, another reason why the day is known as Deva-Diwali.[11]

Pushkar Mela, 2006

In Pushkar, Rajasthan, the Pushkar Fair or Pushkar mela commences on Prabodhini Ekadashi and continues till Kartika Purnima, the latter being the most important. This fair is held in honour of the god Brahma, whose temple stands at Pushkar. A ritual bath on Kartika Purnima in the Pushkar Lake is considered to lead one to salvation. It is believed circling the three Pushkars on Kartika Purnima 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, which is Asia's largest camel fair.[12][13][14][15]

A ritual bath at a tirtha (a sacred water body like a lake or river) at a pilgrimage centre is prescribed on Kartika Purnima. This holy bath is known as "Kartika snana".[16] A holy bath at Pushkar or in the Ganges river, especially at Varanasi is deemed as most auspicious. Kartika Purnima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi.[3] The devotees also take a bath in the evening during moonrise and offer worship by way of six prayers such as Shiva sambuti, Satait and so forth.[6]

Annakuta, an offering of food to the deities, is held in temples.[citation needed] People who have taken vows on Ashvin Purnima end them on Kartika Purnima. 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 intercourse.[16] Charity especially donation of cows, feeding of Brahmins, fasting are religious activities prescribed for Kartika Purnima.[3] Giving gift of gold is said to fulfill all the desires of people.[6]

Tripuri Purnima is only next to Maha Shivaratri amongst festivals dedicated to Shiva worship.[5] To commemorate the killing of Tripurasura, images of Shiva are carried in procession. Temple complexes in southern 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 from hell after death.[citation needed] The 720 wicks symbolize the 360 days and nights of the Hindu calendar.[3] In Varanasi, the ghats come alive with thousands of diyas (brightly lit earthen lamps).[3] People gift lamps to priests. The lamps are kept throughout the night in houses and Shiva temples. This day is also known as "Kartika Diparatna" - the jewel of lamps in Kartika.[5] Lights are also floated in miniature boats in rivers. Lights are placed under tulasi, sacred fig, and amla trees. The lights in the water and under trees are believed to help fishes, insects and birds who saw the light to attain salvation.[16]

In Telugu households of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Karthika Maasalu (month) is considered very auspicious. The Kartika month starts on the day after Deepavali according to the (amanta tradition). From that day till the end of the month, oil lamps are lit every day. On Karthika Purnima, oil lamps with 365 wicks prepared at home are lit in Shiva temples. Apart from that, Kartika Puranam is read, and fasting is observed till sunset, every day for the whole month. The Swaminarayan Sampradaya also celebrates this day with faith and fervor.[11]

Boita Bandana

People in Odisha celebrate Kartika Purnima by setting afloat miniature boita (boats) made from banana stem to remember the historical significance of the day.

In Odisha, on Kartika Purnima, people celebrate Boita Bandana (Odia: ବୋଇତ ବନ୍ଦାଣ boita bandāṇa), in memory of ancient maritime trades via Kalinga[17] by heading for the nearest water body to set afloat miniature boats, originally made out of banana stem and coconut stick, lit with Deepak (lamps), fabric, betel leaves. Boita stands for boat or ship. The festival is a mass commemoration of the state's glorious maritime history when it was known as Kalinga and tradesmen and mariners known as sadhabas traveled on boitas to trade with distant island nations that share borders with the Bay of Bengal like Indonesia, Java, Sumatra and Bali.

During Kartika month, the entire Hindu population of Odisha becomes strictly vegetarian. They observe the month with auspicious customs, continuing till the traditional ceremony of Panchuka which falls on the last five days of the month.[18] The Kartika month ends on Kartika Purnima. The day after Kartika Purnima is called Chhada Khai when the non-vegetarian people can again start their normal diet. By the way, the most fascinating part of Kartika Purnima in Odisha is the celebration of historic Boita Bandana to commemorate the Bali Jatra commenced by ancient Kalinga merchants and associated fleet to do trade in far South East Asia like Bali, Indonesia etc.

Karthika Deepam

Lamps lit on Karthika Deepam

In Tamil Nadu, Karthika Deepam is celebrated where the Purnima corresponds to the Krittika nakshatra. People light rows of lamps on their balconies. In Tiruvannamalai, a ten-day annual festival is held to celebrate Karthika Deepam.


Palitana Jain temples

Kartika Purnima is an important religious day for Jains who celebrate it by visiting Palitana, a Jain pilgrimage centre.[19] Thousands of Jain pilgrims flock to the foothills of Shatrunjay hills of Palitana taluka on the day of Kartika Purnima 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 covers 216 km of rough mountainous terrain on foot to worship at the Adinath temple atop the hill.

Considered to be a very auspicious day for Jains, the day also assumes more significance for the walk, as the hills, which are closed to the public during the four months of chaturmasya,[2] are thrown open for the devotees on Kartika Purnima. The day of Kartika Purnima is very significant in Jainism. As devotees are kept away from worshipping their lord for four months of the monsoon season, the first day attracts the maximum number of devotees. Jains believe that 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.[19]



Although, Kartika Purnima is now a days celebrated as Gurupurab or Prakash Parva of Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs, however this is controversial and historically invalid as per some Sikh scholars.[20]

Sikh contemporary sources rather mention Vaisakh (Mid April) as birth month of Guru Nanak. It is said that the birth celebrations of Guru Nanak were changed to Kartik month during the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on the instance of Bhai Sant Singh.[21] This was done to prevent Sikhs from joining Kartik Purnima fair at Hindu pilgrimage Ram Tirath Mandir in Amritsar.[22]

See also



  1. ^ a b c Mohapatra, J. (2015). Wellness and Indian Festivals & Rituals. Partridge Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-4828-1690-7.
  2. ^ a b Garavi gujarat. 1969. p. 11.
  3. ^ a b c d e [Guests at God's wedding: celebrating Kartik among the women of BenaresBy Tracy Pintchman pp. 83-7]
  4. ^ Chaturvedi, B. K. (1900). Brahmavaivarta Purana. Diamond Pocket Books Pvt Ltd. p. 59. ISBN 978-93-5296-763-6.
  5. ^ a b c Underhill, Muriel Marion (23 October 1991). The Hindu Religious Year. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120605237 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b c Dwivedi, Dr. Bhojraj (2006). Religious Basis Of Hindu Beliefs. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. p. 171. ISBN 9788128812392. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Dance | Ministry of Culture, Government of India". www.indiaculture.gov.in.
  8. ^ "Manipuri, The - Banglapedia". en.banglapedia.org. Bangladesh: Banglapedia. Retrieved 10 December 2023. ... Dance and music play a vital role in the life span of Manipuri people. The most flourishing branch of Manipuri culture is dance. The Manipuri synonym of dance is jagoi and in this dance, body movements create either circle or ellipse. Rasa dance is the finest product of Manipuri culture. Maharaj Bhagyachandra innovated it and it was first performed in Manipur in 1779 in the fullmoon of Kartik. ...
  9. ^ "Manipuri, The - Banglapedia". en.banglapedia.org. Bangladesh: Banglapedia. Retrieved 10 December 2023. ... Dance and music play a vital role in the life span of Manipuri people. The most flourishing branch of Manipuri culture is dance. The Manipuri synonym of dance is jagoi and in this dance, body movements create either circle or ellipse. Rasa dance is the finest product of Manipuri culture. Maharaj Bhagyachandra innovated it and it was first performed in Manipur in 1779 in the fullmoon of Kartik. ...
  10. ^ Prakash, Dr Ved. Significance of Indian Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms. Krishna Publication House. p. 423. ISBN 978-93-90627-49-3.
  11. ^ a b "Dev Diwali Festival". www.swaminarayan.org.
  12. ^ Sharma, S. P.; Gupta, Seema (23 October 2006). Fairs and Festivals of India. Pustak Mahal. ISBN 9788122309515 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "Nag Hill at Pushkar brims with sadhus - Times Of India". 25 October 2012. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012.
  14. ^ Wilson, Keith (23 October 2005). Viewfinder: 100 Top Locations for Great Travel Photography. RotoVision SA. ISBN 9782880467937 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ deBruyn, Pippa; Bain, Keith; Venkatraman, Niloufer; Joshi, Shonar (4 March 2008). Frommer's India. Wiley. ISBN 9780470169087 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ a b c Abbott, J. (23 March 2003). Keys of Power a Study of Indian Ritual & Belief 1932. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 9780766153103 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ "Boita Bandhana – Most Ancient Marine Trade Festival - OdissiPost". 19 November 2021. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  18. ^ "Kumar Purnima – Ancient Odisha Festival - OdissiPost". 20 October 2021. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  19. ^ a b "Pilgrims flock Palitana for Kartik Poornima yatra". The Times of India. 2 November 2009. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  20. ^ "Birth of Guru Nanak ~ Katik or Baisakh?". SikhNet. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2023. There has been a controversy about the date of birth of Guru Nanak. Traditionally it is believed that Guru Nanak was born in the month of Katik (October-November) on the pooranmashi (full moon) night in 1469 and hence Sikhs all over the world celebrate Guru Nanak's birthday in Katik(October-November). Modern scholars, however, do not accept this date. Their research reveals that he was born in the month of Baisakh (April) in 1469.
  21. ^ Puri, J. R. (1982). Guru Nanak, His Mystic Teachings. Radha Soami Satsang Beas. the anniversary fair of Guru Nanak's birth was celebrated in the month of Vaisakh (April) at Nankana Sahib. The date of celebration was shifted to Katik (November) in the time of Ranjit Singh, at the instance of Bhai Sant Singh
  22. ^ Proceedings - Punjab History Conference. Department of Punjab Historical Studies, Punjabi University. 2009.