Before festivities of Ganesh Chaturthi could fade away from our minds and hearts, time has arrived to welcome Goddess Durga. Mahalaya is derived from two terms 'maha' meaning great and 'alaya' which means abode. Mahalaya Amavasya is the most significant day of Pitru Paksha. Mahalaya which marks the beginning of Durga Puja celebration is an oratorical invocation to the goddess requesting her to arrive on earth. The goddess who is regarded as the epitome of power and destroyer of evil was blessed by all gods. According to Hindu mythology, all supreme powers of universe created the goddess to conquer a demon Mahishasura who was wreaking havoc on earth. It is also said that Lord Rama offered prayers to the goddess on the particular day before leaving for Lanka to rescue Sita. This year Mahalaya is on September 19 which also marks the end of Pitra Paksha and the beginning of Devi Paksha. The auspicious day which marks the beginning of Navaratri is falling on Ashvin 02, 1414 according to Bengali calendar.
According to several reports, the timing of Mahalaya Amavasya tarpan will begin from 2:22 AM, September 19 and will end on 1:29 AM on September 20. As per durgautsav.com, Kutup Muhurat will be between 12:30 PM to 1:19 PM, Aaparahna Kal is between 2:07 PM to 4:33 PM and Rohina Muhurat is from 1:19 PM to 2:07 PM. On Mahalaya, Hindus remember and worship their ancestors. Foods such as rice, vegetables and pulses are prepared in silver or copper utensils and clothes, food, etc is offered to Brahmins.
Across India, especially West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, etc preparation to welcome the goddess begins from Mahalaya till she arrives on the sixth day of Navaratri. On the sixth day, idols installed in the huge and decorated pandals are unveiled and feast is served to the goddess Durga after which it is distributed among devotees as prasad.
Durga Puja calendar 2017
Maha Panchami - 25th September 2017
Maha Sasthi - 26th September 2017
Maha Saptami - 27th September 2017
Maha Ashtami - 28th September 2017
Maha Navami - 29th September 2017
Vijayadashami - 30th September 2017