Kartika Poornima (Kartika purnima) is a Hindu, Jain and Sikh holy festival, celebrated on the Purnima (full moon) day or the fifteenth lunar day of Kartika (November–December). It is also known as Tripuri Poornima and Tripurari Poornima. It is sometimes called Deva-Diwali or Deva-Deepawali – the festival of lights of the gods.
The Purnima on the day of Shukla Paksha in the Kartik month is known as Kartik Purnima. Kartik Purnima is also known as Tripuri Purnima and Ganga Snan. Hindus celebrate it as a day when God incarnated himself as ‘Matsya’ or Fish. Vishnu took the Fish Incarnation to save Vaivasvata, the seventh Manu and the progenitor of the human race from the Deluge.
Lord Mahadev killed a demon named Tripuri on this day and hence, it is known as Tripuri Purnima. Kartik Purnima has immense religious value according to the Hindu mythology. There is a tradition of taking a bath in Ganga and donating lamps on this day. It is believed that Kartik Purnima provides Dharma, Artha, Kama and Salvation.
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 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 camel fair.
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. Giving gift of gold is said to fulfill all desires of people
Kartik Poornima is an important religious day for Jains who celebrate it by visiting Palitana a 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 covers 216 km of rough mountainous terrain on foot to worship at the Lord 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 Chaturmas, are thrown open for the devotees on Kartik Poornima. The day of Kartik Poornima 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