The world’s biggest Shmashan Deepavali festival or Shmashan Kali Puja (worship of Shmashan Kali, the goddess for the cremation-ground) is held annually in Barishal, Bangladesh. This Shmashan Deepavali festival is celebrated for two nights and one day at Kaunia Mahashmashan in Barishal to seek peace of soul of the deceased Hindus. People from different districts of the country as well as from India, Nepal and other countries join this Deepavali festival.
Kaunia Mahasmashan was established 200 years ago on 5.95 acres of land in Kaunia area of Barishal city. The total number of graves in this Mahasmashan is about 50 thousand including 30 thousand brick built graves. There is the tomb of Mahatma Ashwini Kumar Dutt, one of the leaders of the anti-British movement. Besides, there are graves of many talented people from different parts of undivided Bengal and Bangladesh including Devendra Nath Ghosh in this Mahasmashan.
Shmashan Deepavali Festival
Every year on the holy day of Bhoot Chaturdashi, a two-night one-day Shmashan Deepavali festival is held. The devotees wash the preserved places of the crematory, offer flowers, foods, and decorate places with lights, lamps and candle. They arrange various types of rituals and special prayers at the Shamshan Ghat for the eternal blessings of the departed souls of their dearest and nearest ones. The festival, which has a tradition of nearly 200 years, is heavily illuminated with the construction of arches. Close circuit cameras are installed for the safety of the benefactors. The Metropolitan Police and the festival committee volunteers take extensive security measures to keep the entire festival uninterrupted. Every year, devotees from different parts of the country and from different parts of the world flock here to wish peace to the souls of their loved ones during the festival. As a result, the Mahashmashan area become a popular destination for people from home and abroad. On the occasion of Shmashan Deepavali, a two-day fair is also held on one side of the mahashmashan with various products. So far as I know, this is the biggest Shmashan Deepavali festival of our planet. We are really proud of this festival.
Talker: Krishna Das