Held in Gaya, the holy city of Bihar, Pitru Paksha Mela or Pitra Paksha Mela is an annual event which is attended by people from across the country, in order to perform Shraadh ritual. This ritual holds great significance as, during this time, our ancestors are worshipped.
Shraadh ceremony is also called the Pinda Daan, a rite which is believed to bring salvation to our ancestors and is also an obligatory ritual in the Hindu culture. Overall, Pitru Paksha Mela is an annual event that is of much value not just to the people of Bihar but beyond as well.
Gaya is one of the holiest places in the world and hence celebrating Pitru Paksha Mela is considered even more sacred if done here. The event happens mainly in September, ahead of Navaratri.
The origin of Pitru Paksha Mela can be traced back to as old as the time of Buddha. It is said that he was the first one to offer Pinda Daan in Gaya. However, there are other legends too which have a deep connection with Pitru Paksha Mela.
As per the Hindu mythology, a demon or Asura, named Gaya, became so powerful that even devs started to feel intimidated by him. Perceiving him as a potent threat, they decided to kill him.
The devs succeeded in destroying him but Gaya had one last wish – he wanted to be laid to rest in the holiest city on the planet. That city is now called Gaya. The Pitru Paksha Mela is held every year to celebrate rituals on these lines only.
1. Holy Dip. It is amazing to witness the love of people for their loved ones who are no more alive. They perform all the rituals with utmost devotion including taking a dip in the holy waters of River Ganges.
2. Food Offerings. People make food offerings for their ancestors. The food usually includes lapsi, Kheer, dal, yellow gourd, the vegetable of spring bean, and rice. The food is cooked in a copper/silver vessels and is placed on cups made of dried leaves or banana leaves. It is said that the offering is accepted if a crow flies in and eats the food, as the bird is considered to be the messenger of the ancestors’ spirits or Yama. In addition, Brahmin priests, a dog and a cow are also fed.
3. Worship in Temples. The holy city has many ancient temples as well, which are worshipped by people coming from all over India. Especially during Pitru Paksha Mela, people worship to gods to ask for sadgati of their ancestors. This is also done to make their stay in the other realm easy and peaceful.
4. The Shraadh Ritual. This ritual involves pinda dana in which pinda is offered to the ancestors. The ritual guides that one should release water from their hands while standing in the river. Then Lord Vishnu, in the form of a gold effigy or Shaligram stone, and Lord Yama, the God of death, are worshipped.
Gaya has its own airport and railway station which is well-connected to all the major cities by all means of transport. The city is one of the most easily accessible cities in Bihar. You can get trains and buses to Gaya from Delhi, Lucknow and many other places.
01 September 2020 - 16 September 2020
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