Pitru Paksha Mela
The 15-day long Pitru Paksha Mela during the Hindu month of Shradh 2021 would be held in Gaya, Bihar from 20th September to 6th October 2021. Pitru Paksha is one of the most important months among Hindus. Several rites in Hinduism are performed even after death. Pitru Paksha is the month where the relatives of the deceased perform Shradh karma for the deceased. Since the festival is meant to pay reverence, it is called Shradh derived from the word Shraddha.
Importance of Pitru Paksha or Shradh 2021
Pitru Paksha is also known as Sola Sraddha, Jitiya, Pitru Pakkha, and Malaya Paksha in various parts of India. The death rites are performed with the help of water in the form of Shradh or Tarpan. Pitru Paksha comes after the Ganesh Festival and in the Bhadrapad month of the Hindu calendar. According to Hindu mythology, the last three generations of a person reside in Pitru Loka. It is also believed that the souls of the ancestors don't achieve salvation and keep wandering until Pitru Puja is performed for them. The shradh ritual is also known as Pinda Daan, indicating salvation for the deceased soul.
Pitru Paksha 2021 in Gaya, Bihar
Located by the banks of Falgu River in the state of Bihar, Gaya is one of the holiest cities in India. The Shradha celebration or Pitru Paksha Mela in Gaya is an annual event, which is attended by thousands of people across India in order to perform Shradh rites for their ancestors. The event holds a great significance for Hindus around the country, and it is considered that the reverence to ancestors becomes more sacred and meaningful if performed in this event. The Mela often happens in September. This year, the Pitru Paksha Mela date is 20th September to 6th October 2021.
According to one of the mythological stories related to the city of Gaya, there was an Asura called Gaya. As he started troubling the Devas, they decided to kill him. While the Devas ultimately became successful in killing him, they decided to fulfill his last wish, which was resting in the holiest place on earth. Hence, Pitru Paksha Mela is celebrated in Gaya every year so that the last desire of the deceased can be fulfilled. Another legend associated with Pitru Paksha also tells that Buddha was the first to perform Pinda Daan in Gaya.
Highlights of Pitru Paksha Mela 2021, Gaya
- Holy Dip in the River: Thousands of people gather in Gaya to take the holy dip in the river. Most of the Pinda Daan rituals are performed, followed by a short bath in the river.
- Rituals inside the Temples: People visit several temples located around the river to ask for salvation and peace for their deceased ancestors.
- Offerings: In addition to worshipping, Daan is one of the significant aspects of Pitru Paksha Puja. People make food and other offerings to their ancestors and give many things in charity. The food generally includes rice, pulses, and vegetables. The priests in the temples and cows are fed.
- The Pinda Daan: This is the main ritual of the entire event where a pinda is offered to the ancestors. People perform this ritual by releasing water from their hands while standing in the river. Later, food items are offered to the crows who are believed to be the messenger of Yama.
How to Reach Gaya
Due to its historical and religious importance, Gaya is one of the most popular and accessible cities in Bihar. The best way to reach Gaya is by bus. You can easily find buses to Gaya from Delhi and Lucknow and other places in UP and Bihar on redBus.
NOTE: In light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, we at redBus would like to urge you to take all necessary precautions when you travel and follow every instruction provided by your local government. If you're not planning on traveling, practice social distancing and stay indoors to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus disease and prevent it from spreading any further. Stay safe!