New Delhi: With Mahalaya, the countdown for Durga Puja 2018 officially begins. As the autumn sky wears fluffy clouds and white ‘kashful’ covers the fields, this day marks the end of Pitru Paksha and the beginning of Devi Paksha. It is believed that Goddess Durga, along with her family of Ganesha, Laxmi, Saraswati, and Kartikeya starts her journey to earth from heaven on this day.

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On Mahalaya, Hindus pay homage to their dead ancestors by offering tarpan. This year the tithi for Mahalaya is a little different, as a result of which the familiar sight of people thronging to the Ganges early morning will not be seen. Amavasya is starting around 11 AM, so tarpan can be only done after that.

Mahalaya, observed seven days before Durga Puja, is an auspicious day and holds great significance as it marks the advent of Goddess Durga in her battle against evil.

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For Bengalis around the globe, Mahalaya starts with Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s voice resonating in every household at the break of dawn as he recites Mahishashur Mardini. 

Durga Puja 2018 

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Durga Puja this year starts on October 14 and ends on October 19. Here’s a look at the dates:

October 14 – Maha Panchami
October 15 – Maha Sashthi
October 16 – Maha Saptami
October 17 – Maha Asthami
October 18 – Maha Navami
October 19 – Maha Dashami