Pitru Paksha or Tarpan is a 16–lunar day’s period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors, especially through food offerings. In This article we have tried to explain about pitru pakshas or shraddhs, its significance, the rituals  performed as well as  Do`s and Don’ts during  pitru pakshas. Mahalaya Amavasya is the special Amavasya for worshiping your ancestors.

In case you have a badly afflicted 9th house in your horoscope then do not miss the chance to pray to your ancestors during this period. The period lies between Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Pooja. It starts on a Full Moon day and ends on a New Moon day.

The new moon day is called Sarvapitri Amavasya. It is assumed necessary in Hindu religion for salvation of the ancestor’s soul.


What is Pitru Paksha?


In the ancient texts, pitrus or pitras refer to ancestors and paksha means a particular time. So the term pitru paksha suggests it is the time when we offer prayers and food to the ancestors.

Pitru Paksha or Pitri paksha is a 16–lunar day period in Hindu calendar when Hindus pay homage to their ancestor (Pitrs), especially through food offerings.

Pitru Paksha is considered by Hindus to be inauspicious, given the death rite performed during the ceremony, known as Shraddha or tarpan.

According to South Indian Amavasyant calendar it falls in the lunar month of Bhadrapada beginning with the full moon day or day after full moon day.

According to North Indian Purnimant calendar this period falls in the lunar month of Ashwin beginning with the full moon day in Bhadrapada or next day of full moon day.

It is just nomenclature of lunar months which differs and both North Indians and South Indians perform Shraddha ritual on similar days.

Myth behind Pitru Paksha


According to Hindu mythology, the tradition of offering Shraddha (donations) during Pitru Paksha is attributed to Karna. Karna was a charitable person and had donated gold and other precious things throughout his life to help the needy and downtrodden. When he died, his soul went to heaven, where he was given gold and jewels to eat. Amused, he went to Indra to know the reason for the same.
Indra told him that despite donating many things, particularly gold during his life, he had never donated any food to his ancestors. Karna reasoned that since he wasn’t aware of his ancestors, he never donated anything. So  Karna was permitted to return to earth for a 15–day period, so that he could perform Shraddha and donate food and water in their memory. This period is now known as Pitru Paksha.

Tarpan or Shradh Significance


For  Hindus the performance of Shraddha by a son during Pitru Paksha is regarded as compulsory, to ensure that the soul of the ancestor goes to heaven. According to Garuda Purana  “there is no salvation for a man without a son”.The scripture Markandeya Purana says that if the ancestors are satisfied with the shraddhas, they will bestow health, wealth, knowledge and longevity, and ultimately heaven and salvation or moksha upon the performer.


The Tarpan or Shradh Rituals


The Ritual of Shraddha involves the male member, usually the eldest son of a family. The male who performs the shraddha should take a purifying bath  and is expected to wear a dhoti. He is required wear a ring of kush grass. Then the ancestors are invoked to reside in the ring.

The shraddha is usually performed bare-chested, as the position of the sacred thread worn by him needs to be changed multiple times during the ceremony. The shraddha involves pinda-daan, which is an offering to the ancestors ofpindas  i.e cooked rice and barley flour balls mixed with ghee and black sesame seeds,  accompanying the release of water from the hand. It is followed by the worship of Vishnu, a gold image or Shaligram stone and Yama.

The food offering is then made, cooked especially for the ceremony on the roof. The offering is considered to be accepted if a crow arrives and devours the food; the bird is believed to be a messenger from Yama or the spirit of the ancestors. A cow and a dog are also fed, and Brahmin priests are also offered food. Once the ancestors (crow) and Brahmins have eaten, the family members can have lunch.


Pitru Paksha Puja Mantras

Rituals for Pithru Karma- Pinda Daan- entire procedure and Mantras to follow


Pitru Paksha Food

Hindus who perform the ritual fast on this day also offer food to the priest which they believe will deliver salvation to the souls of their ancestors. Devotees offer kheer, lapsi, rice, dal, guar and pumpkin to priests.


Pitru Paksha -2018 Dates


In the year 2018, it will start from 24th September 2018 and end on 8th October 2018.

24 September (Monday) Purnima Shraddha
25 September (Tuesday) Pratipada Shraddha
26 September (Wednesday) Dwitiya Shraddha
27 September (Thursday) Tritiya Shraddha
28 September (Friday) Maha Bharani, Chaturthi Shraddha
29 September (Saturday) Panchami Shraddha
30 September (Sunday) Shashthi Shraddha
01 October (Monday) Saptami Shraddha
02 October (Tuesday) Ashtami Shraddha
03 October (Wednesday) Navami Shraddha
04 October (Thursday) Dashami Shraddha
05 October (Friday) Ekadashi Shraddha
06 October (Saturday) Magha Shraddha, Dwadashi Shraddha
07 October (Sunday) Trayodashi Shraddha
08 October (Monday) For More Info Go to The link-Chaturdashi ShraddhaSarva Pitru Amavasya

Things to be avoided during Pitru Paksha-

  • This isn’t a good time for new beginnings. Avoid starting anything new, even something seemingly as insignificant as buying and wearing new clothes, washing hair, cutting hair and even shaving .
  • As per  astrologers, getting married, celebrating the birth of a new born, settling down in a new home, starting a new business and other such important events should be postponed or advanced so as to not to fall under the period of Pitru Paksha.
  • Eating non vegetarian food or even including onion and garlic in the food is forbidden.
  • It is believed that only when a person performs the rituals with earnestness and no malice at heart does his efforts bear fruit. Thus, it is important to clear one’s mind of all negative thoughts.It is also important to refrain from pleasurable activities for the ritual to be successful.



Pitru Paksha Puja Vidhi at Home In Hindi – Guide For How to Do Tarpan @ jaipurthepinkcity.com