The dawn of Monday started on a different note as people across West Bengal turned on the radio sets to listen to the enchanting voice of late spiritual poet Birendra Krishna Bhadra narrating the 'Mahisasur Mardini' on All India Radio and thus marking the occasion of Mahalaya, which also heralds the Durga Puja countdown.
Every Bengali eagerly waits for the day as listening to Bhadra´s captivating voice narrating the ´Mahisasur Mardini´ has become a part of their culture and tradition.
The six-day countdown to the beginning of Durga Puja also starts from Mahalaya and every Bengali this day wakes up with the joy that only a week is left for celebrating their annual festival of five days as goddess Durga along with her four children (Laxmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh) make their annual trip to maternal house on earth.
Mahalaya marks the start of ´Devipaksha´ (Fortnight of the Goddess) amid rituals by the pious Hindus in the Ganges.
Hundreds of Hindus of Kolkata went to Babughat, on the banks of the Ganges to perform ´Tarpan´ - the ritual of praying for their departed ancestors.
Eyes of Durga idols are painted on this auspicious day. The ritual is known as ´Chakkhu Daan´ (donation of eyes to the Goddess).
The organisers of Durga Puja will give a close inspection to the remaining of the works left in decorating their ´pandals´ (make shift temporary temples where Durga is worshipped) on Monday in order to ensure that artisans quickly give the final touches and make them ready for the devotees.
Customers are expected to rush to nearest shopping malls or shops on Mahalaya day to finish their last hour Puja shopping.
Meanwhile, Bengalis got a bit nostalgic as they shared their feelings listening to the rendition of Mahalaya programme.
It is part of every Bengali life for more than half a century with All India Radio (Akashvani) Kolkata broadcasting Birendra Krishna Bhadra's recitation of Mahishashura Mardini (a collection of shlokas and songs dedicated to Goddess Durga) at 4 am on the day of Mahalaya.
"It is tough for me to remember a Mahalaya when I started the day without listening to ´Mahisasur Mardini´. It is a part of my life and my culture. I actually start celebrating Durga Puja from this day," said a housewife Tumita Saha.
"The programme actually makes me remember of my childhood days. I become very nostalgic on Mahalaya. My grand father used to turn on his small radio set on this day and made sure we listened to it. Today, he is no more with us. But I listein to ´Mahisasur Mardini´ every year," said one Shankar Das.
"Yes, I love to hear ´Mahisasur Mardini´ on the day of Mahalaya every year. The mood of festivity actually starts with it. Can you imagine a Mahalaya morning without this programme?" a college student from Kolkata Tanima Bose said.