Today marks Mahashashthi, the annual commencement of Goddess Durga’s journey to her maternal abode, accompanied by her four divine offspring: Lord Ganesha, Maa Lakshmi, Maa Saraswati, and Lord Kartikeya, each riding their sacred animal companions.
In the splendid puja pandals, the unveiling of Goddess Durga’s idol takes place on Shashthi, the inaugural day of the five-day festivities. This day is steeped in numerous sacred rituals, including Kalprarambha, the initiation of the Puja; Bodhon, the ceremonial revelation of the Goddess’s countenance in the evening; Amontron, the welcoming of Devi Durga; and Odhibash, the ritual sanctifying her presence in the mandap.
Mahashashthi begins with Sasthi Puja, followed by the reverential pushpanjali ceremony, and concludes with aarti and bodhan. The subsequent day, Mahasaptami, boasts even grander traditions and rituals, making it a pivotal day in the elaborate celebration of Durga Puja.