Diya (lamp)

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Diya Mohnot
Diya, or oil lamp, in different formations
Earthen oil diya used for Diwali
A diya on top of a rangoli
Diya on balcony ledge
Two diyas with oil
A diya with multiple wicks
Diya floating on Ganges River

A Diya, diyo, deya,[1] divaa, deepa, deepam, or deepak is an oil lamp used in the Indian subcontinent, notably India and Nepal, 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.


  • 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.[3] 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).[4]

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]

Death: The lighting of diya is also part of the Hindu religion rituals related to death.[5][6] [7]

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. ^ The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British and Foreign India, China, and Australia Front Cover Parbury, Allen, and Company, 1834, page 346
  4. ^ Tej K. Bhatia and Naresh Sharma "The Routledge Intermediate Hindi Reader", Routledge, 2015 ISBN 1317962850, 9781317962854
  5. ^ "Rituals after death as per Hinduism". Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Introduction to death & dying". Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Hindu Death Rites". Asian Cremation USA. Retrieved 25 April 2018.