Guwahati: Mahalaya which marks the onset of the Durga puja festival is observed across the nation. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that on this day Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswar created Goddess Durga to defeat the demon king Mahishasura.
This year the day will be celebrated on October 6 followed by Durga Puja from October 11 to 15. It also marks the end of the Pitru paksha period and the beginning of the Devi Paksha. On this day various rituals are performed including shradh rituals for those who breathed their last on Purnima tithi, Chaturdashi Tithi and Amavasya Tithi and establishing the idol of goddess Durga in the pandals.
As per sources, this year the tithi of Mahalaya begins at 07:04 pm on October 5 and will ends on 04:34 pm on October 6.
Mahalaya marks the starting of the Navratri period that is dedicated to Maa Durga. Throughout these days, devotees keeps fast for nine days and worships the nine forms of goddess Durga.
In some parts of India, devotees performed Kanya puja on the eighth and ninth day of the Navaratri festival. The ceremony primarily involves the worship of nine girls, representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga (Navdurga).
According to the Hindu inscriptions, it is believed that on this day the Goddess Durga visits earth from Kailash on a boat, palanquin, elephant or horse with her children-Lakshmi, Kartik, Saraswati and Ganesh. It is considered that throughout the ten days, Goddess Durga wades off wrong happenings from society and blessed her devotees. The Durga puja begins on the seventh day of Mahalaya and ends on the tenth day of Dusshera.
During the onset of Mahalaya people wake up in the wee hour to worship the Goddess by reciting Chandipath and other religious mantras.
Notably, during the onset of Mahalaya, the sculptors who are engaged in making the idols of the Goddess Durga begins the painting of the eyes of the goddess.