Mahalaya (September 25)- History, Timeline, Importance and Celebration

Updated October 10, 2022

Mahalaya, also known as Sarva Pitra Amavasya is celebrated on the last day of ‘Krishnapaksha’, the dark fortnight of Ashwin month.

The festival of Durga Puja begins with Mahalaya. On this day, it is believed that the goddess Durga arrives on the earth. It concludes the 16-day period known as “Pitri Paksha,” during which Hindus honour their ancestors.

Large, elaborately carved Durga statues that are placed in homes and on beautiful platforms known as Pandals distinguish Mahalaya.

On this day, the eyes of the goddess Durga, who was sculpted from clay, begin to be painted. It is a tradition known as “Chakkhudaan” in Bengal.

With “Chakkhudaan,” the Goddess is approached and awakened in accordance with rites with a prayer to her to open her eyes.

Hindus do “tarpan,” a traditional offering to their departed relatives or ancestors, on the final day of “Pitri Paksha”. By taking a sacred plunge in the Ganges or other bodies of water and offering prayers in honour of their ancestors, the ceremony is carried out.

It also serves as a reminder to the faithful of how much has changed and that Mahalaya’s notes will always ring in their ears, no matter where they reside or how distant they are from home. Join us in observing this day of optimism and joy!

History of Mahalaya

Mahalaya is observed by followers of Maa Durga one week before Durga Puja, according to the Hindu calendar. The last day of Pitru Paksha is the day that Mahalaya is observed.

According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga was created on this day by Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswar to thwart the demon king Mahishasura.

Devotees have therefore celebrated this day as the entry of Goddess Durga and her holy powers from Kailash Parvat. According to followers of Hinduism, it is believed that a demon named Mahishasura received the blessing that neither God nor man could ever kill him.

Soon after god blessed him, Mahishasur attacked Devlok, where gods live. All Devtas (gods) were forced to leave Devlok after losing the war.

When no option was left with Devtas, they prayed to Adi shakti along with lord Vishnu to save them from Mahishasur’s destruction. It is believed that a holy light formed the appearance of the goddess Durga after emerging from the bodies of all the Devtas

The fight between Maa Durga and Mahishasur lasted for 10 days. And, on the last day, Mahishasur got killed by Durga Maa.

The nationwide celebration of Durga Puja honours Maa Durga, who is renowned as the goddess of power.  For ten days straight, devotees offer prayers to the goddess, who is thought to visit Earth to benefit her people.

West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka, and Tripura are among the states that observe this holiday with tremendous fervour and dedication.


450 B.C.Literary Treasure– The epithets of Devi, which are used to refer to Durga, first appear in Upanishadic literature.

The 1570sHistory of Wealth– The sponsorship of Durga Puja during open celebrations by kings and wealthy households is documented in historical documents.

1916Evolution– Ramaprasad Chanda described the development of Maa Durga in the Indian subcontinent.

2019Celebrating Life– 97 pandals in Cuttack decorate their separate sculptural idols with silver jewellery in honour of the Durga Puja celebrations.

How to Celebrate Mahalaya

Mahalaya is celebrated by everyone in India. You can also celebrate by involving yourself in this festival in any way. Like you can help to prepare some foods and prasad for devotees. Decorate houses, streets and other public places to ensure cleanliness.

Create a goddess sculpture using clay or another material of your choice. A wonderful method to have an authentic Mahalaya celebration is to listen to traditional music and stories to remember the story of Maa Durga and Mahishasura.

Why Mahalaya is Important?

Many nations view history and religion as important aspects of memory and celebration as well as factors that shaped the development of their societies.

These Mahalaya celebrations welcome new devotees each year. These people participate and observe the rituals, experience enlightenment, and then decide to pursue a certain religious path.

A very beautiful spirit of community and cooperation is honoured through events that encompass entire cities and regions. People cherish community, particularly when it comes to respecting and maintaining religion and tradition in a world where society is susceptible to being ruined or modified.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do we celebrate Mahalaya?

Ans: On this day, according to followers, Goddess Durga brought her heavenly powers from Kailash Parvat to Earth.

Q. What is the meaning of Mahalaya?

Ans: “Mahalaya / महालय” is a composite of “Maha / महा / means great or very big” & “Aalay / आलय / means house or building”.

Q. What should be done on Mahalaya Amavasya?

Ans: On this day, you must perform Tarpan to assist you to expunge your negative karma.

Beyond Mahalaya Under Awareness Reads

Leave a comment