Art, Culture & Architecture

    Pitru Paksha 2023: Hindus pay homage to their ancestors

    Pankaj Sharma
    September30/ 2023
    Last Updated:

    Pitru Paksha 2023

    Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh): Pitru Paksha, a ritual in which Hindus pay homage to their ancestors, especially through food offerings started all over the country.
    This year the Pitru Paksha began on September 29 and will end on October 14.

    Devotees from all over the country come to Pishach Mochan Kund in Varanasi because only after offering Pind Daan here, do people leave for Gaya, Bihar to pay homage to their ancestors.

    There is a mythological belief that this Pishach Mochan Kund has been present even before the descent of Ganga, where for centuries people have been offering Pind Daan to their ancestors.
    Pitru Paksha ("fortnight of the paternal ancestors") is a 16–lunar day period in the Hindu calendar when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors (Pitrs), especially through food offerings.

    The food offerings made to the ancestors are usually cooked in silver or copper vessels and typically placed on a banana leaf or cups made of dried leaves.
    The person who performs the Shraadh should take a purifying bath beforehand and is expected to wear a dhoti. He wears a ring of darbha grass. Then the ancestors are invoked to reside in the ring.
    The Shraadh is usually performed bare-chested, as the position of the sacred thread worn by him needs to be changed multiple times during the ceremony.
    People also reached Haridwar from all over India to wish for the salvation of their departed ancestors. The special importance of performing ‘Shraadh’ in the Narayani Shila Temple of Haridwar has been mentioned in the ‘Puranas’ which is why devotees come here from far and wide to perform these rituals.

    Manoj Tripathi, chief priest of Narayani Shila Temple said “Pitru Paksha, which lasts for 16 days, is a time to express gratitude to our ancestors and wish for their salvation. Rituals are performed at many places across the country, but performing at Narayani Shila Temple in Haridwar, Gaya, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Badrinath is said to have special significance. It is described in the scriptures that the head of Lord Vishnu is installed in Badrinath Dham, the torso is installed in Narayani Shila in Haridwar and the feet of the Lord in Gaya, Bihar. Therefore, the importance of offering ‘Tarpan’ at these three places has been stated more.”
    Devotees from far and wide reach Narayan Shila temple to offer Tarpan during Pitru Paksha and wish for salvation for their ancestors through special prayer conducted by the pilgrim priests. It is believed that through this Tarpan, the departed souls attain salvation. Therefore, special importance has been given to performing ‘Shraadh’ at these three places.