Pitru Paksha is a special time period during the Hindu year when Hindus pay their respects to the souls of their ancestors by performing Shradh rituals at holy locations. Pitru Paksha is a time period of 16 days during the Bhadrapada Maas of the Hindu month when the wandering souls of dead relatives and ancestors come to earth in form of energies, which have the power to affect our daily lives.
These souls come in search of food and warmth and it is the duty of the next generations to provide the same for the wandering souls. It is a devotee’s goal to free their ancestor’s soul from the cycle of life and death and help them to seek Mukti or liberation.
The Pitru Paksha Shradh commence on the Purnima or Full Moon Day (at times the next day) and conclude on Amavasya or the New Moon Day. The dark fortnight or 15 day period of the Bhadrapadh month as per Hindu Lunar Calendar is marked as Pitru Paksh Shradh and observed as an obeisance to ancestors.
As per Hindu religion, the Shradh of a departed elder should be performed every year on the date (tithi) and month of death of the deceased; however, if the date is not known then Shradh could be performed on the Amavasya of that month.
For Pitars or Ancestors, the Shradh Pitru Paksh period is considered as the right time and ‘tarpan’ is performed as a remembrance and respect to the antecedents. There are a total of 16 Shradhas on which the rituals should be performed preferably during the Kutup Muhurat or Rohina Muhura.
The Shradh of Pitars is ideally performed at home; however, people also carry out rituals in temples, holy places, forests as well as riversides.
It is believed that the Ancestors may pay a visit to your home during the Pitru Paksh Shradhas; thereby, Hindus offer food or clothing to anyone that seeks it during this period. Non-vegetarian food and alcohol is abstained besides shopping for new clothes and ornaments as this is fortnight is considered a mourning time to pay homage to the departed souls.
Shradh 2018 Dates:
Monday, September 24, 2018 Purnima Shraddha
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 Pratipada Shraddha
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 Dwitiya Shraddha
Thursday, September 27, 2018 Tritiya Shraddha
Friday, September 28, 2018 Chaturthi Shraddha, Maha Bharani
Saturday, September 29, 2018 Panchami Shraddha
Sunday, September 30, 2018 Shashthi Shraddha
Monday, October 1, 2018 Saptami Shraddha
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 Ashtami Shraddha
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 Navami Shraddha
Thursday, October 4, 2018 Dashami Shraddha
Friday, October 5, 2018 Ekadashi Shraddha
Saturday, October 6, 2018 Dwadashi Shraddha, Magha Shraddha
Sunday, October 7, 2018 Trayodashi Shraddha, Chaturdashi Shraddha
Monday, October 8, 2018 Sarva Pitru Amavasya
The Holiest Locations For Pitru Paksha
Gaya – This ancient city in Bihar on the banks of the river Phagu is quite important in Hinduism and is eternally blessed by the power of Lord Vishnu. It is one of the holiest locations for performing Shradh rituals.
Dwarka – Dwarka in Gujarat is a famous pilgrimage associated with Lord Krishna, the Swaym Bhagwan. It is the location of the world renowned Dwarkadhish Temple, which gets millions of visitors each year.
Rishikesh – The legendary town associated with Lord Shiva is nestled in the foothills of the Himalaya and the holy Ganga river passes through the heart of it. It is one of the most sacred places in Hinduism and is the ideal location for Shradh rituals.
Haridwar – Haridwar, also known as Gangadwara is the divine city blessed by both Lord Shiva and Vishnu. It is one of the most important Sapta Puris (seven holy cities) of Hinduism and one of the best locations for Pitru Paksha Shradh.
Allahabad – Allahabad in the Prayag Ksetra is the point of meeting of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. It is the largest pilgrimage, visited by tens of millions of devotees who go there to take holy dips in the sacred waters.
Ayodhya – Ayodhya, the historical city of Lord Rama in northern India which is rumored to be 9000 years old and is also one of the seven Sapta Puri locations of Hinduism. It is a home to great temples such as Ram Janmabhoomi, Hanuman Garhi and Kanak Bhawan, which further highlight its spiritual significance.
Kalighat – Located at Kolkata, West Bengal, Kalighat is one of the most important Shaktipeeth temples dedicated to Maa Kali, a ferocious but benevolent form of Maa Shakti.Offering worship and austerities at this holy pilgrimage has several spiritual and material benefits for the lives of devotees.
Puri – The holy coastal city, dedicated to Lord Jagannath is of utmost significance, as mentioned within the pages of Hindu mythology. It is one of the most important locations for Hindus and ideal for performing Dan Punya activities and Pitru Paksha rituals.
Nashik – Nashik in Maharashtra, on the banks of the holy Godavari is the location of the world famous Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, which draws millions of pilgrims every year. Performing Shradh rituals and related activities at Nashik is considered very auspicious for pleasing the souls of one’s ancestors.
Kashi – Kashi, also known as Varanasi is arguably the most popular destination of Hinduism. It is the oldest city in the whole of Asia, which has the Kashi Vishwanath and Sankat Mochan Temples. It is also one of the best locations for Pitru Paksha rituals.
Kedarnath – Kedarnath, the mountainous pilgrimage which houses the greatly revered Kedarnath temple, is of prime significance to Hindus all around the world. It has been mentioned innumerable times in Indian mythology and is definitely a great place for seeking the blessings of one’s ancestors during Pitru Paksha.
Deoghar – Deoghar, situated in Bihar is the location of the Baba Baidyanath Dham temple; one of the twelve famous Jyptirlingas dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. It is a place that has a rich history and is blessed eternally by Lord Shiva and Maa Durga, and one of the holiest places for shradh rituals.
Rameshwaram – Rameshwaram in south India is one of the most important holy cities of Hinduism, dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama and home to the famous Ramanathaswamy Shiva temple. It is one of the Char Dhams and Sapta Puris of Hinduism and a special place for Pitru Pksha rituals.
Pushkar – Pushkar in Rajasthan is also a historically important city and the home of the world famous Brahma temple; the only significant Brahma temple in India. It is a sacred pilgrimage mentined several times in Hindu mythology and is an ideal destination for Shradh rituals.