Mahalaya is here and the countdown for Durga Puja commences for the year. The day marks the end of Pitru Paksha and the beginning of Devi Paksha. A big part of Mahalaya is to remember departed souls by offering tarpan. The day marks the beginning of Navaratri and Durga Puja. Devi Paksha in itself is the waxing phase of the moon which comes in the month of Ashwin as per Hindu calendar. Mahalaya is also the last day of the Pitru Paksha when Hindus offer homage in the remembrance of their deceased ancestors. The auspicious day of Mahalaya holds a special significance for Bengalis as well as it is the beginning of Durga Puja festival. Legend has it that Goddess Durga came to earth to destroy the demon Mahishasura. Photo: Orchid Chakravorty.
In Case you missed it
In the year , exactly 50 years ago, a record of two songs was released ahead of Durga Puja. Durga Puja celebrations over the years have undergone a lot of changes with new trends taking over old practices. The tradition of Pujo album releases had gradually taken a back seat. Old-timers, however, miss the annual feature. Back in those days, Pujo songs, not necessarily devotional numbers, were a regular fixture.
Durga Puja is just around the corner. These five days of festivities are a significant part of every Bengali in any part of the world. This is why beyond Bengal too, one can see several Bengali settlements celebrating puja with equal enthusiasm and fervour even in the most remote corners of the country. This year Durga puja celebrations would kick-start on 14th October Panchami and would go on till 19th October Vijay Dashami. Durga Puja, as the name suggests, is celebrated in honour of Goddess Durga. According to legends, when all the male Gods were unable to defeat the buffalo demon Mahishasura, they entrusted Goddess Durga with the task of putting an end to his evil doings on earth. In a gory battle that ran for several days, Goddess Durga defeated Mahishasura and earned the name of Mahishasura Mardini. Navami falls on 18th October this year.
Devi Katyayani is associated with the red colour, similar to Maa Durga. Navratri is a nine-day long festival which began from October 10 this year and will last till 18th with Vijayadashami falling on the 19th. The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay West Bengal government's decision to offer grants totalling Rs 28 crore to various Durga Puja committees in the state. The top court however issued a notice to the state government on the matter and sought a detailed affidavit from it within six weeks.