Mahalaya is being celebrated across Bangladesh as an invocation to Goddess Durga for the beginning of Durga Puja. The formal period of Durga Puja running into 10-days starts the day after Mahalaya. The festivities will begin on the sixth day of the Puja on October 20th with Maha-Shasthi. It will continue for 5-days till October 24th when the Puja will culminate with the immersion of the idols on the tenth day, Dashmi Puja.
Mahalaya marks the end of the Pirtipaksha and the beginning of the Devipaksha. It symbolises the day when Goddess Durga begins to descend to earth after killing the demon Mahisashura, say the scriptures.
The Mahanagar Sarbojanin Puja Committee organised a special programme on Saturday at the historic Dhakeshwari temple in Dhaka on this occasion. The Mahalaya puja began early in the morning with sunrise. It was followed by programmes in the temple premises including Aarti, Kirtan and other religious activities.
High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Pranay Verma along with Mrs. Manu Verma took part in the Mahalaya programme at Dhakeshwari temple in the morning on Saturday.
In other prominent temples of Dhaka like the Baba Loknath temple, Ramakrishna Mission temple as well as other cities like Chattogram, Bhola, Pabna etc. also, Mahalaya was observed with religious fervour.
Durga Puja is the largest festival of Hindus of Bangladesh. This year 32,407 mandaps are being made across the country to celebrate the Puja. Capital city Dhaka will have 244 Durga Mandaps this year.
In view of the communal incidents in the past years when temples and houses of Hindus were vandalised during Durga Puja in several districts of the country, the Government has taken steps to ensure security of the Puja mandaps. CCTV cameras have been made mandatory for the mandaps. Police personnel and volunteers from various communities will mount vigil to ensure a peaceful and festive Puja.