Mahalaya is an auspicious occasion observed seven days before the Durga Puja, and heralds the advent of Durga, the goddess of supreme power. It’s a kind of invocation or invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth – “Jago Tumi Jago”. This is done through the chanting of mantras and singing devotional songs. On this day an important event i.e., ‘Chakkhu Daan’, literally donation of the eyes will be done. Starting with Devi Durga, the eyes of the idols will be painted on Mahalaya by artisans in Dwarka Kalibari, the last day of the previous fortnight Pitri Paksha, (‘Fortnight of the Forefathers’). Before painting on the eyes, the artisans will have fast for a day and eat only vegetarian food.
The day of Mahalaya is also the day of remembrance. On this day, people offer ‘tarpan’ in memory of their deceased forefathers. The banks of River Ganga becomes a sea of humanity. Priests are seen busy performing ‘Tarpan’ for devotees in groups. The rituals start from early down and end during the midday. Devotees and worshipers buy clothes and sweets to offer to their forefathers. In Dwarka Kalibari also ‘Tarpan’ is organised at its Sector-7 premises. This year too it will be held on 15th October, 2012 since morning. Interested devotees in empty stomach may offer ‘tarpan’ in memory of their deceased forefathers at Dwarka Kalibari.