Mahalaya 2018: How to Hear Mahishasura Mardini Live on AIR, Watch Online on YouTube & Telecast on Zee Bangla, Colors Bangla, Star Jalsa & Other Channels
Chakkhudan at Kumortuli, Bengal | File Image | (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

If you are in West Bengal during this time of the year, you should have seen Kashphul and Shiuliphul, these flowers indicate the arrival of Durga Puja.  Artisans are busy giving their final touches to the Durga idols, shops are crowded as people complete their last-minute puja shopping. There is an excitement on the face of every Bengali across the world, who are eagerly waiting to welcome Goddess Durga along with her family. These six-days of fun and festivity is also the time of homecoming for every Bengali who resides outside their hometown. Mahalaya 2018: Date & Significance of the Day When Pitru Paksha Ends & Goddess Durga Descends On Earth.

The auspicious occasion of Mahalaya, which is celebrated seven days before the start of Durga Puja, marks the arrival of Maa. This year, Mahalaya will be celebrated on October 8, and is observed seven-days before the start of Durga Puja.  The word "Mahalaya" is formed of two words "Maha" or grand and "Alaya" meaning abode. This day marks the end of Pitru Paksha or Pitri Paksha and the start of Devi Paksha, which signifies the start of all auspicious time. According to the Hindu mythology, it is believed that on this day, the ten hands goddess descends on the earth to fight against all the evils and protect us. Maa Durga's 108 Names in Hindi: This Navaratri 2018, Chant Names of Devi Durga to Seek Goddess Shakti's Divine Blessings.

Birendra Krishna Bhadra & Story of Mahishasura Mardini

In most of the houses in Bengal till today, it is a ritual to wake up at 4 am and to tune in to their radios to listen late Birendra Krishna Bhadra's "Mahishasura Mardini" recitation from the verses of Chandi Path along with Bengali devotional songs. But who is this man, whose sonorous voice doesn't fail to create magic and echoes in the minds and hearts of every Bengali across age group? Birendra Krishna Bhadra was one of the great stalwarts of radio drama production at All India Radio (AIR) Kolkata.

Mahishasura Mardini, the 90-minute musical piece which narrates the tale of Goddess Durga being created to save the gods from the torture inflicted upon them by the shape-shifting buffalo demon Mahisasura, was first composed in 1931 under the direction of Pankaj Kumar Mullick. It was only recorded in 1966, after which the recorded version is played every time.

The story of Mahishasura Mardini highlights the increase in the cruelty of the demon king Mahisasura against the gods. The script is a combination of narration, hymns and Bengali devotional songs, which tells the story of the creation of a powerful female with ten arms-Goddess Durga, and how she gains victory in her fight with Asura.

How to hear it LIVE on All India Radio

His voice marks the onset of Durga Puja, it is filled with nostalgia and gives goosebumps to every Bengali. If you are not in West Bengal, here is how you can still hear it. Click here All India Radio and then select Air Bangla. You can also hear it on YouTube, where the original recording has been uploaded.

Did you know that for several years, Mahisasura Mardini was played live with renowned artistes like Manabendra Mukhopadhyay, Arati Mukhopadhyay, Utpala Sen, Tarun Banerjee, Krishna Dasgupta, Shyamal Mitra, Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, and other great actors? AIR Kolkata also experimented with several voices, one of them was the legendary actor Uttam Kumar, but none of them managed to create the same aura and the magic which Birendra Krishna Bhadra reverberating voice did.

For those, who would also like to watch Mahishasura Mardini on television, from Colors Bangla to Zee Bangla, each of the Bengali channels have programmes lined up, so don't miss them.

Here is the promo of all the 2018 Mahishasura Mardini TV shows

It is a tradition that till today, people wake up to the powerful voice of the legendary artiste. It gives us hope that if we can keep Birendra Krishna Bhadra's voice alive even several decades later, it means that younger generations are not there to always challenge traditions and change it. Durga Puja or Navaratri instils in the minds of every devotee that goodness is here to stay.  Here's wishing all our readers a Very Happy Durga Puja and a colourful Navaratri.