It’s the dawn of Mahalaya and the only sound that echoes from every Bengali household is the blowing of the conch and the beginning of the Mahisasurmardini with the Ya Chandi song.
Playing the Mahisasurmardini has been the tradition for Bengalis for quite a long time. For all those wondering what it is, Mahisasurmardini is a radio program broadcast since 1931 on AIR in West Bengal.
The end of Pitru Paksha and the beginning of Matri Paksha is named as mahalaya and with which comes an hour-long audio montage of Chandi Paath, one of the most ancient and complete systems of mantra worship of the divine goddess Durga from the scripture verses of sri sri chandi. The maha laya is the auspicious occasion where the three Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar come together to create the most powerful goddess who later goes on to defeat Ausr, Mahisasur in a vicious battle and emerge victorious.
Mahalaya holds a special place in the hearts of all the Bengalis. 4 am at and the streets of Kolkata echoes with the voice of Birendra Kishore Bhadra and that’s how Bengalis start their pujo.
Author: Parampreet Dutta