Mahalaya is being celebrated with much grandeur and zeal in Bengal over the decades and the auspicious day marks the beginning of the 'Devi-paksha' and the end of the inauspicious Shraadhh period or 'Pitri-paksh'.
Pitri Paksha also known as Pitru Paksha is a 16–lunar day period in Hindu calendar and three generations of ancestors are invited to a meal and an offering of rice cakes on Mahalaya. The offering is known as 'Tarpan' and presented on a banana leaf.
With celebration of Mahalaya, Bengalis start countdown for their much anticipated festival 'Durga Puja' and further make the 7-day-long celebration much more grand with a bunch of special songs and hymns like 'Bajlo Tomar Alor Benu', 'Durge Durge Durgatinashini', 'Jaago Tumi Jaago' and others.
Going by the mythology, Goddess Durga is said to be created with the blessings and power of all other Gods, especially Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar, in order to defeat the demon king Mahishasura. Mahishasura received a boon that he could not be killed by any man or god which prompts the creation of Goddess Durga.
Durga was bestowed with the various weapons borrowed from her creators, symbolically held in the 10 hands that are attached to the Goddess' body which were later used in her fight against Mahishasura.
Finally the Goddess became successful in killing the demong king on the 10th day, much to the delight, thrill and excitement to the world of Goddess.
This year, the day is celebrated across Bengal on Tuesday, i.e. September 19, 2017 and the excited Bengalis recount the creation of Durga with the 90-minute Mahishasura Mardini invocation of Goddess Durga, recited by legendary Birendra Krishna Bhadra.
The programme has touched its eighth decade on All India Radio and the voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra is yet irreplaceable. The programme narrates Goddess Durga's descend to earth with a series of hymns and songs which cause goosebumps to lakhs of Bengalis on the dawn of Mahalaya.
According to Durgautsav.com, Mahalaya Amavasya tarpan has already started on September 19 at 2:22 AM and is set to culminate at 1:29 AM on September 20, 2017. The Kutup Muhurat will be between 12:30 PM and 1:19 PM, Rohina Muhurat from 1:19 PM to 2:07 PM and Aaparahna Kal falls between 2:07 PM and 4:33 PM.