The auspicious occasion of Mahalaya, where Goddess Durga is invoked, is being observed today across the country amidst ritual festivity among Hindus.
Mahalaya marks the end of Pitri-paksha (fortnight of Shradh or mourning) and beginning of Devi-paksha (fortnight of the Goddess).
Hindus all over the world get enthused in festive fervour.
Cultural Minister Asaduzzaman Noor inaugurated the festival as chief guest by lighting the candle around 6:00 am while the noted playwright Nasiruddin Yusuf Bachchu was also present as special guest on the occasion in city's Swami Loknath Mandir, UNB reports.
The chief guest said that all the festivals have been being celebrated among Bengalis for thousands of years with the participation of people together from all religious.
"But occasionally, evil communal forces try to destroy our communal harmony. We need to be alert about them," said the minister.
Presided over by Sri Sri Loknath Brahmachari Ashram and Mandal Parishad President Pankaj Devnath MP, the function was also attended by Sri Sri Loknath Brahmachari Ashram and General Secretary of the Board of Directors Bishnupad Bhaumik, Vice President Debashish Biswas, Joint General Secretary Engineer Manoj Roy, Organizing Secretary Prof Rajat Tune Raju, among others.
Cultural personality Shimul Yusuf, the wife of Nasir Uddin Yusuf, chanted mantras (chandipathath) and sang devotional songs.
It is said that Goddess Durga starts her journey towards Earth on the day of Mahalaya i.e. the first day of Devi-paksha.
Since she is traditionally worshipped during spring, this Sharodiya (autumnal) festival is also known as Akaalbodhan (untimely invoking of the Goddess).