Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Oct. 30 : A special Ganga "Aarti" dedicated to the valour and sacrifice of Indian Armed Forces, was held with full fervour today on the occasion of Diwali in the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi.
Priests and a large number of devotees joined in the prayers held for India's soldiers and a special rangoli made from lamps was seen sporting the words "jai jawan, jai kisan".
Not just in Varanasi, but prayers were held in several parts of the nation today, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier announced his intention to dedicate this Diwali to India's Armed Forces.
In his Mann Ki Baat edition today, the Prime Minister showering praise on the armed forces and hailed their many sacrifices.
"Dedicate this Diwali to our soldiers. #Sandesh2Soldiers hashtag was used so much by everyone and we were flooded with well wishes and love for jawans from citizens.
Be it BSF, CRPF etc, our jawans are on duty and guarding us; that is why we are celebrating Diwali joyfully," said the Prime Minister.
Later in the day, he celebrated Diwali with soldiers of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Indian Army and Dogra Scouts in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
"Spent time with our courageous @ITBP_official (and) Army Jawans at Sumdo, Kinnaur district, Himachal Pradesh.
Jai Jawan! Jai Hind!," Prime Minister Modi tweeted. "Made unscheduled stop at Chango village, close to Somdu, to wish people on Diwali. Was deeply touched by the impromptu reception (and) their joy," he added. Prime Minister Modi had earlier spent Diwali with soldiers of the Indian Army posted at the world's highest battlefield of Siachen as well as the Dogra war memorial at Amritsar.
He also made it a point to be in Srinagar before his visit to Siachen in 2014, in solidarity with the flood victims in Jammu and Kashmir.
Last week, the Prime Minister had launched a campaign named "Sandesh for Soldiers" to send Diwali greetings to those serving on India's borders.
"I sent my #Sandesh2Soldiers. You could also do the same. Your wishes will certainly make our forces very happy. This Diwali, let us remember our courageous armed forces who constantly protect our nation. Jai Hind. When 125 crore people stand with soldiers, their power increases by 125 crore," he tweeted then. Prominent celebrities like film actors Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar as well as several Union Ministers have sent messages tagging Prime Minister Modi during the course of this campaign.