BHUBANESWAR: Mahalaya, which marks one of the phases of Pitru Paksha, is also known as Mahalaya Amavasya as it falls on a no moon day.
On this day, Tarpan or Shraddha is offered to our ancestors to free them from earthly bondage.
Hindus believe that offering Shraddha during Pitru Paksha is the only way of ensuring that the soul of our ancestors goes to heaven and attain moksha. In the 14-day period, the souls of our ancestors come to the living realm from Pitru Loka. Legend has it that Lord Rama invoked Maa Durga on this day, just before his quest to Lanka for rescuing Maa Sita.
Men clad in dhoti and chadara offer Tarpan for the Pitru Paksha puja on this day. Rasi, kusha, water, Ganga murtika, flower and sandalwood paste are used to free their spirits.
The day also marks the beginning of Devi Paksha, where Chandi Patha is performed in temples across the country. It is also done through the All India Radio.
This year the Amavasya tithi begins at 2:22 am and ends at 1:29 pm October 8. Orissa Post interacted with various temple servitors in the twin city regarding the auspicious day.
Bira Acharya, a servitor of Kanak Durga Mandir in Bhubaneswar, said, “We invoke the Goddess early in the morning with chandi patha and sodash puja. The rituals have started from September 28 and will continue till Pitru Pakshya.”
Servitor Ravi Mishra of Dakshin Kali Mandir also emphasised on Chandi Patha and Gupta Puja Neeti, which are deeply associated with Mahalaya. He said, “Some rituals are not to be disclosed. However, I can tell you that we that we offer special prayers to invoke Maa Shakti.”
Kakatpur Mangala Mandir servitor Jayanta Nana said, “We offer free prasad to all who come on this day to the temple. The temple is crowded by devotees who come to pray for their ancestors. In the evening, oil lamps are lighted inside villages. A special patara or thali is offered to the ancestors. A special yagnya is also performed by many brahmins to set those spirits free.”
Pandit Kedareswar Mishra said, “On the occasion of Mahalaya, Goddess Cuttack Chandi will be adorned with the suna besha. It is a part of the special sodasha puja in Bhusandapur Ugratara temple, Banapur Bhagabati temple, Ganjam Tara Tarini temple, Goddess Bimla in Jagannath temple Puri and Goddess Charchika. The Goddess will be invoked at all these places in a special way.”
Goddess Durga will also be invoked in Ramkrishna Math at Vivekananda Marg will also Invoke Goddess with an early Puja at 3 pm in the dawn followed by Sodasha Puja.
Sudeshna Praharaj, a resident of Nayapalli, said, “Mahalaya is being celebrated at my in-law’s place for the last 30 years. It is believed that Tarpan should be offered on an empty stomach and one should have food at the same place after completing the ritual.”