1/ 15 Mahalaya is the auspicious day which comes seven days before Durga Puja. It is kind of invocation or invitation to the Goddess Durga to come on earth. On this day, Bengalis switch on their radio or television early in the morning to hear or watch the program called Mahisasura Mardina (the annihilation of the demon). It consists of chanting mantras and singing devotional song – "Jago Tumi Jago" – to invoke Maa Durga. The story of killing Mahisasura, the demon king, by Goddess Durga is shown on the day of Mahalaya. Heaven and earth rejoice at her victory and the program ends with the mantra – "Ya devi sarbabhuteshshu, sakti rupena sanksthita Namasteshwai Namasteshwai Namasteshwai namo namaha." Facebook/DurgaPuja An artist sprays paint on an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga. The Durga Puja festival is the biggest religious event for Bengali Hindus. Hindus believe that the goddess Durga symbolises power and the triumph of good over evil. Reuters A priest is worshiping the beautiful idols of Goddess Durga along with Goddess Saraswati and Kartikeya at her left and Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha at her right. IBTimes/sushmita Creative and beautiful pandals are made on the festival of Durga Puja every year. Facebook/Durgapur Huge number of devotees crowded inside the pandal who has come to worship the idols on the Durga Puja festival. IBTimes/sushmita Hindu women in the traditional Bengali attire hold earthen lamps on the occasion of the Durga Puja Reuters Durga Puja Bhog is served to the devotees that mainly consist of Khichdi (made up of pulses and rice), payesh (rice and milk), red chutney, labra (mixed vegetable) and five different types of vegetable fries. Screenshot/Youtube A priest performs rituals in front of the Hindu girls dressed as a "Kumari". It is done on the eighth day (Maha Ashtami) of Durga Puja and on this day the bhog which is offered to the Goddess will not contain any rice product. The evening of Maha Ashtami is the main 'sandhya puja' in which 108 earthen lamps (diyas) are lightened. It is the day when Maa Durga killed the demon king Mahisasura. Reuters A devotee performs a traditional dance ritual - Dhunuchi nritya - in front of the idol of Durga. Reuters Drummers stand along with their traditional Indian drums called "Dhak". Most of the traditional dance rituals are done on the beats of these drums during the festival. Reuters Along with worshiping Goddess Durga, Bengalis also have many cultural programs. It has traditional Bengali dance forms and songs. The dancers beautifully portray 'Mahisasur Mardini' through their dance. Reuters A devotee offers sweet to the idol of Maa Durga on the tenth day (Vijaya Dashami). On this day The devotees bid farewell to the Goddess Durga by putting sindoor on the idol and praying for their family's well being. Reuters A Hindu woman reacts as she is smeared with "sindoor", or vermillion powder, as part of a ritual called as "Sindoor Khela" on the last day of the Durga Puja festival. Reuters Hindu devotees prepare to immerse an idol of Hindu goddess Durga known as 'Visarjan' in the river. Reuters Devotees carry an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga to immerse it into the water and chants "Asche Bochor Abar Hobe" (It will happen again next year). Her immersion is the end of the Durga Puja festival and then everybody wish each other saying "Shubho Bijoya". Reuters
Durga Puja creates a positive and fun-filled atmosphere all around with the sound of ' dhak' (drums), chants and devotional songs. It is the festival which depicts the victory of good over evil. Goddess Durga had killed the demon king Mahisasur and thus the heaven and earth rejoice on the victory.
It is believed that mother Durga is invited to visit her maternal home and the invocation given to her is by '
Mahalaya', i.e, chanting mantras and singing devotional songs – " Jaago tumi Jaago...Jaago Durga.."
Goddess Durga then visits home for five days and Bengalis celebrate, worship, and enjoy the five days of Durga Puja –
Shashti, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami.
The Puja ends by immersing Maa Durga's idol in water and by chanting '
asche bochor abar hobe' (It will happen again next year).
This year the auspicious festival will commence on 30 September. The unique part about this year's Durga Puja is that the ninth and 10th day – Maha Navami and Dashami – fall on the same day.
Check out the slideshow above, which has the colours of Durga Puja.