Kolkata, Oct 12 : Hindus in Kolkata offered prayers and took a holy dip on the banks of River Ganges to honour the souls of their departed ancestors on the last day of Pitru Paksha on Monday.
According to Hindu tradition, Pitru Paksha, also called Pratipada or Shraadh, is a 16-day period, which falls in the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada (September-October).It begins with the full moon day (Purnima) that occurs immediately after the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi and ends with the new moon day.
On the concluding day, Hindus offer the holy water of River Ganges to their ancestors, a rite known as Tarpan, and pray for the departed souls. The day is dedicated to making an offering to express gratitude to all the previous generations who have contributed to the present life.
“Today, sons offer holy water to the departed souls of their parents or grandparents. We call this rite ‘Tarpan’. We come here (on the banks of River Ganges) and perform Tarpan every year for our ancestors,” said a Hindu devotee, Ram Prasad Mandal.
Pitru Paksha, is, however, considered by Hindus to be inauspicious, given the death rites performed during the ceremony. It is also known as Mahalaya Amavasya, the day converges with a new moon and the next day begins the festivities for Navratri – nine days of fasting, dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga.
For people living in eastern state of West Bengal, Mahalaya is the day when Goddess Durga descended on earth after vanquishing the evil, embodied by demon king Mahishasur.
It is believed that the Goddess stays on earth for nine days, which are celebrated with great fervour across India as Navratri, which conclude on the tenth day, celebrated as Dussehra – the festival marking the victory good over evil.(ANI)