The City of Joy, Kolkata, is counting days for the annual festival of Durga Puja. This year Maha Shashti or the 6th day of Durga Puja, when the face of the idol is unveiled, falls on October 4 and festivities continue till October 8 (Maha Dashami). However, celebrations begin from Mahalaya, seven days prior to the festival that marks the countdown for Durga Puja. This year the auspicious day of Mahalaya falls on September 28.
The day marks the end of Pitru Paksha and the beginning of Devi Paksha. A major part of Mahalaya is to remember departed souls by offering 'tarpan'.
On Mahalaya, devotees invoke Goddess Durga, who is treated as a daughter in Bengal, by chanting mantras to welcome her from her husband Lord Shiva's abode, Kailash.
It is believed that Goddess Durga begins journey her to Earth on the day of Mahalaya. The ten-armed-goddess along with her family - sons Lord Ganesh and Kartikeya and daughters Laxmi and Saraswati descend to Earth.
People of this day throng to river Ganga and take holy dip in order to pay homage or tarpan to their ancestors and forefathers.
According to mythology, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh created Goddess Durga to defeat the demon king Mahishasura.
Goddess Durga is worshipped as the Goddess of supreme power or Goddess Shakti over evil.
Date of Mahalaya: September 28
Timimg of Mahalaya: 2:50 am on September 28 12:24 am on September 29