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The traditional six-day countdown to Mahasaptami starts from Mahalaya. Ma Durga visits the earth for only four days but seven days prior to the Pujas, Mahalaya starts. The enchanting voice of Late Birendra Krishna Bhadra fills up the predawn hours of the day thus marking the beginning of "devipaksha" and the beginning of the countdown of Durga Puja. Sarat, the season when the flowers are in full bloom, mingles with the festive spirit of Durga Puja attaining its full pitch on the day of Mahalaya.


From this day starts 'Devipaksha' and marks the end of 'Pitri-Paksha'. It is the day when many throng to the banks of the river Ganga, clad in dhotis, to offer prayers to their dead relatives and forefathers. People, in the pre-dawn hours, pray for their dead relatives and take holy dips in the Ganges. This ritual is known as "Torpon" or "Pitri-Torpon". This day also bears immense significance for the Bengalis. According to the Ramayana, Sree Rama hastily performed Durga Puja just before he set for Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana.


According to the Puranas, King Suratha, used to worship Goddess Durga in spring. Thus, Durga Puja was also known as Basanti Puja. But, Shree Rama preponed the Puja and worshiped Goddess Durga in autumn and that is why it is known as "Akal Bodhon" or untimely worship. It was considered untimely as it is in the myths that the Puja was performed when the Gods and Goddesses were awake i.e. "Uttarayan" and was not held when the Gods and Goddesses rested i.e. "Dakshinayan". It is on the day of Mahalaya, the beginning of "devipaksha", that the Gods and Goddesses wake up to prepare themselves for Durga Puja.


Akashvani Mahalaya
In the year 1930, Mahalaya was first broadcast over the radio in Akashvani. Premankur Aatorthi, Birendra Krishna Bhadra, Nripendra Krishna Mukhopadhyay and Raichand Boral organized the program. It was broadcast live then. The script was written by Bani Kumar, music was directed by Pankaj Kumar Mallik, the voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra enthralled the listeners in the pre-dawn hours of Mahalaya. Dijen Mukhopadhyay, Manobendra Mukhopadhyay (Tabo Achinta....), Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, Arati Mukhopadhyay, Utpala Sen, Shyamal Mitra and Supriti Ghosh (Bajlo tomar alor benu....) sang in their melodious voices.


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MAHALAYA Part I
MAHALAYA Part II
MAHALAYA Part III


Dhak I
Dhak II


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MAHALAYA
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