Navratri and Durga Puja
An artisan paints an idol of Hindu goddess Durga at a workshop ahead of the Durga Puja festival in Allahabad, India, September 22, 2016.Reuters

It's that time of the year again! As most of Northern and Western India celebrates Navratri, most of Bengal and Odisha is gearing up for Durga Puja, which is heralded by the end of the Pitri Paksha and the day of Mahalaya.

As is tradition in many households, especially where Bengali is spoken, Mahalaya is incomplete without the customary listening of Chandipath – incantations to the Goddess Chandi, another form of Goddess Durga.

And that happens through the annual 4 am broadcast on the day of Mahalaya from the Kolkata station of All India Radio.

When is Mahalaya 2018?

Mahalaya is the first day of the Devi Paksha, the fortnight when the goddess descends on Earth for her devotees.

Calculated as per the lunar calendar, Mahalaya 2018 is on Monday, October 8.

The other important days of the Durga Puja are:

  • Panchami: Sunday, October 14
  • Mahashashthi: Monday, October 15
  • Mahasaptami: Tuesday, October 16,
  • Durgashtami: Wednesday, October 17
  • Mahanavami: Thursday, October 18.
  • Vijaya Dashami: Friday, October 19.

Where to hear Mahisasuramardini online?

Mahisasuramardini is a one-hour-29-minute performance containing songs and chants dedicated to Goddess Durga and her conquering of Mahisasura – the bull-demon.

Conceived by Bani Kumar, the piece contains 19 songs whose music was composed by Pankaj Mullick and which were sung by various artistes, and chanting by Birendrakrishna Bhadra.

The piece has been broadcast in its current format at 4 am IST on the day of Mahalaya since 1966.

Those who have a radio can tune in to the AIR national broadcast, which will defer to AIR Kolkata at the appropriate time on Mahalaya day.

Others may look to this video from music label SaReGaMa Bengali, which contains visual representation along with the entire Mahisasuramardini programme:

In case you prefer just the audio version, here it is, and from the same channel: