Mahalaya is being observed today and Union Minister Smriti Irani took to Instagram to extend greetings to her fans and followers with a beautiful post. Mahalaya marks the end of Pitru Paksha, and the beginning of Devi Paksha. In Bengal, Mahalaya begins the countdown of Durga Pujas. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Durga starts her journey with her children — Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartik — from Mount Kailash to Earth, which is said to be her paternal home. On Maha Shashti, which is the sixth day of Navratri festival, it is said that Goddess Durga reached Earth with her children.
Irani shared a short snippet of the legendary Mahishasur Mardini, also known as the Chandi path, narrated in the timeless voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra on her Instagram post. “Shubho Mahalaya,” the Union Minister wrote in the caption of the clip, which has already gone viral on social media. Among the various comments by her fans and followers, one was from TV actress Mouni Roy who wrote, “Shubho Mahalaya.”
In every Bengali household, Mahalaya begins early in the morning at around 4 am. They tune into radio to listen to the broadcast of Mahishasur Mardini. The one-and-a-half-hour-long programme can be heard on Indraprasth, FM Gold, and AIR Live News24x7 YouTube channel. After listening to the Chandipath, food items such as rice, dal, vegetables, and kheer are also offered at puja mandaps.
The nine-day-long festival of Navratri is slated to commence from October 7. This year, the Maha Shashthi is being observed on October 11, and the Durga Puja will conclude on October 15 with Vijay Dashami. Shashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Vijaya Dashamiare the five days of Durga Puja.
During Navratri, devotees worship the nine avatars of Goddess Durga. Each day is dedicated to one avatar:
Day 1 – Ghatasthapana, Shailaputri Puja
Day 2 – Brahmacharini Puja
Day 3 – Chandraghanta Puja
Day 4 – Kushmanda Puja
Day 5 – Upang Lalita Vrat or Skandamata Puja
Day 6 – Katyayani Puja
Day 7 – Maha Saptami or Kalaratri Puja
Day 8 – Durgashtami, or Mahashtami, Kumari Puja, Mahagauri Puja
Day 9 – Maha Navami, which is also known as Navami Homa or Siddhidatri Puja in some parts of the country.