Diya (lamp)

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Diwali Diya.jpg

A diya, diyo, deya,[1] divaa, deepa, deepam, or deep is an oil lamp usually made from clay, with a cotton wick dipped in ghee or vegetable oils. Diyas are native to the Indian subcontinent often used in Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Zoroastrian religious festivals such as Diwali[2] or the Kushti ceremony.

Traditional use[edit]

Clay Diyas are often used temporarily as lighting for special occasions, while diyas made of brass are permanent fixtures in homes and temples. Especially in Diwali, diyas or candles are representing of enlightenment, knowledge, or wisdom. Diyas are a part of Indian culture, as a representative or sakshi for auspicious reasons, as well as an indicator of light that destroys darkness. They are also used as decoration during the festival of lights - Diwali. Traditionally, Indians light a diya every morning and evening.

While lighting a diya, some also chant Shubham Karoti Kalyanam:

शुभं करोति कल्याणमारोग्यं धनसंपदा ।

शत्रुबुद्धिविनाशाय दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तुते ॥

दीपज्योतिः परब्रह्म दीपज्योतिर्जनार्दनः ।

दीपो हरतु मे पापं दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तुते ॥[3]

Shubham Karoti Kalyaannam-Aarogyam Dhana-Sampadaa |

Shatru-Buddhi-Vinaashaaya Diipa-Jyotir-Namostute ||

Diipa-Jyotih Para-Brahma Diipa-Jyotir-Janaardanah |

Diipo Haratu Me Paapam Diipa-Jyotir-Namostute ||


I pay my salutation (namaskara) to the light / lamp which brings auspiciousness; prosperity, good health, abundance of money and wealth, and the destruction of the intellect’s enemy. The light of the lamp represents the Supreme Brahman as well as Janardhana (Vishnu), let the light absolve the sins, I pay my salutations to this light / lamp.

This shloka is recited while lighting the lamp. Light is considered a symbol of auspiciousness, prosperity, and abundance in many cultures. It is believed that deepam is the symbol of knowledge.


  • Tealight Diyas used for decoration during Diwali
    Diwali: The lighting of diyas forms a part of celebrations and rituals of the festival. Houses are decorated with small diyas placed at boundaries and entrances.[4] In fact, the name of Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word Deepavali, which means the row of lights ("deep" means Diya and "avali" means row).[5]
  • Karthikai Deepam: Diyas, also known as deepam in Tamil Nadu, can be lighted, especially during the Karthikai Deepam.

Worship and prayers[edit]

A diya placed in temples and used to bless worshippers is referred to as an aarti.

A similar lamp called a butter lamp is used in Tibetan Buddhist offerings as well.

Hindu Rituals[edit]

Birth: The lighting of diya is also part of the Hindu religion rituals related to birth.[6][7][8]


Top of the ornamental Nachiarkoil or Annam lamp of Tamilnadu.

In terms of the choice of material, the kiln fired earthenware lamps followed by the metallic lamps with multiple wicks, mostly of brass known as Samai, are the most common, though other materials are also used such as patravali floating lamp made from leaves or permanent lamps made of stones.

In terms of wick design, lamps with one wick are most common followed by the four wick styles, other variations such as two, five or sevel wick, etc also made.

In terms of overall lamps design, the ornamental lamps come in various designs. The iconic Nachiarkoil lamp, also known as "Annam lamp", is produced exclusively in by the Pather (Kammalar) community in Nachiyar Koil of Tamil Nadu.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sacred Places of a Lifetime. Washington DC: National Geographic Society. 2008. p. 270. ISBN 978-1-4262-0336-7.
  2. ^ "Diwali: Significance of a Diya". Zee Media Corporation Ltd. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Shubham Karoti Kalyanam - In sanskrit with meaning". Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  4. ^ The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British and Foreign India, China, and Australia Front Cover Parbury, Allen, and Company, 1834, page 346
  5. ^ Tej K. Bhatia and Naresh Sharma "The Routledge Intermediate Hindi Reader", Routledge, 2015 ISBN 1317962850, 9781317962854
  6. ^ "Rituals after death as per Hinduism". Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Introduction to death & dying". Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Hindu Death Rites". Asian Cremation USA. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  9. ^ PM Narendra Modi gifts Xi Jinping Annam lamp, Times of India, 11 october 2019.
  10. ^ Makarand Shantaram Karandikar - Collected 1000+ Diya Set a World Record, World Records India, 09 november 2020.