Lights, Camera, Action!

The festival of lights is near, and we hope that the light of the glistening diyas brightens your lives and brings positive vibes your way. As we set gear for Diwali celebrations in our homes, we present to you this blog, a collaboration with our dear friend Yvonne. Yvonne and Aakanksha (Founder, Photo Bombaying) went to witness the magic that is created during Dev Diwali celebrations at Banganga every year. Let's dive into that nostalgia, shall we?

Pick up any tourist guide of Mumbai and the pages will boast of The Gateway of India, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and the Prince of Wales Museum. As a Mumbaikar, you know of these places. You may have been there a hundred times. When a relative or a friend comes over from out of town, these are the places that you will take them to.

But the undeniable truth is that the city has so much more to offer in terms of sightseeing and experiences. Think of the city like an old friend. No matter how well you think you know them, they can always manage to surprise you with some unknown fact that had previously slipped through the cracks.

Mumbai’s hidden haunts also have a knack of slipping through the cracks. While they’re there for anyone who wants to discover them, the time has taken its toll on them and they tend to be overlooked. Organizations like Khaki Tours are attempting to bring such places to the attention of the city’s inhabitants.

One such tour that I attended was a photo walk at Banganga Tank on the occasion of Dev Diwali. Most of us are familiar with the concept of heritage walks. Photo walks are similar walks except that the focus is on photography. You have a pre-decided destination, and you can snap away to your heart’s content without feeling guilty about not living in the moment because that’s what photo walks are all about.

For those of you who do not know, Banganga tank is located at Malabar Hill, which has the distinction of being one of the oldest parts of the city. Similarly, the tank itself also dates back to a few centuries. This is intriguing as it is one of the very few historic places in Mumbai that is not an output of colonial architecture.

Dev Diwali coincides with Kartik Purnima and is celebrated fifteen days after Diwali. This day is a grand affair in Varanasi where the many ghats in the city are decorated with earthen diyas, creating an ethereal effect that is nothing less than a visual delight.

Banganga Tank on Dev Diwali was similarly decked up. The ziggurat like steps of the tank were arranged with thousands of unlit diyas. Ladies dressed in beautiful silk sarees carefully lit the diyas, slowly transforming the entire tank into a magical space full of flickering lights.

As the evening wore on, the tank became crowded with people from far and wide who had come to see the festivities. The highlight of the night was undoubtedly the maha aarti, a testament to the devotion of those gathered.

The entire experience was surreal; a sensory onslaught sharpened against the background of a community united in celebration. Banganga on Dev Diwali was a little cosmic bubble, full of its own charm and untouched by life going on outside it. The night ended on a high note, reminiscent of the Coldplay song, “Lights will guide you home”.


Yvonne is a twenty-one-year-old who loves history and exploring the city with her friends. She is an avid reader and can often be found browsing through endless stacks of books in Crosswords. When in doubt, she scrolls through endless dark academia posts. When not in doubt, she can be found at pastry shops with a tiramisu on her plate and a smile on her face.


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