Pitrupaksha 2023

A Deep Dive into the Significance, Rituals, and Dates

Pitrupaksha, often referred to as Shradh or Tarpan, is a significant period in the Hindu calendar dedicated to paying homage to one’s ancestors. This 16-day period is marked by rituals, prayers, and offerings, ensuring the well-being of departed souls and seeking their blessings. Let’s delve into the significance, rituals, and dates of Pitrupaksha 2023.

Historical and Mythological Significance

Pitrupaksha finds its roots in ancient Hindu scriptures, Puranas, and texts. The Mahabharata narrates the story of Karna, who, after his death, was offered gold and jewels as food in the afterlife. Upon inquiring, he learned that he had never offered food to his ancestors during Shradh. To rectify this, he was allowed to return to Earth for 16 days to perform the rituals, thus marking the beginning of Pitrupaksha.

Pitrupaksha 2023 Dates

In 2023, Pitrupaksha will commence on Friday, 29th September, and conclude with Mahalaya Amavasya on 14th October. Each day of this period is dedicated to performing Tarpan for different family members. Here are the dates:

29th September 2023, Friday - Poornima Shradh
30th September 2023, Saturday - Dvitya Shradh
1st October 2023, Sunday - Tritiya Shraadh
2 October 2023, Monday - Chaturthi Shraadh
3 October 2023, Tuesday - Panchami Shraadh
4 October 2023, Wednesday - Shashti Shraadh
5 October 2023, Thursday - Saptami Shraadh
6 October 2023, Friday - Astami Shraadh
7 October 2023, Saturday - Navmi Shraadh
8 October 2023, Sunday - Dashmi Shraadh
9 October 2023, Monday - Ekadashi Shraadh
10 October 2023, Tuesday- Magha Shradh
11 October 2023, Wednesday - Dwadashi Shraadh
12 October 2023, Thursday - Triyodashi Shraadh
13 October 2023, Friday - Chaturdashi Shraadh
14 October 2023, Saturday - Sarva Prit Amavasya

Rituals and Practices

  1. Tarpan: The primary ritual involves offering water, sesame seeds, and darbha grass to the departed souls.
  2. Pind Daan: A ritual where rice balls are offered, symbolizing the deceased’s body and assisting them in their afterlife journey.
  3. Fasting: Many devotees observe fasts, consuming a single meal a day.
  4. Reading Scriptures: Sacred texts like the Garuda Purana are read, detailing the afterlife and significance of Shradh.

What to do and what not to do during Pitrupaksha


  1. Perform Tarpanam: Offer water and sesame seeds to the ancestors, preferably on the banks of a river or a clean water body.
  2. Offer Food: Prepare and offer food that was favored by the departed souls.
  3. Visit Temples: Pay homage to the ancestors by visiting temples, especially those dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
  4. Chant Mantras: Recite specific mantras or shlokas that are meant to appease the ancestors.
  5. Maintain Cleanliness: Ensure personal hygiene and cleanliness in the surroundings.
  6. Observe Fasting: Many people observe fasts during this period as a mark of respect to the departed souls.
  7. Donate: Give donations or alms to the needy, especially Brahmins.
  8. Light Lamps: Light sesame oil lamps in the evening to guide the souls.
  9. Respect Elders: Pay respect to the elderly members of the family and seek their blessings.
  10. Seek Guidance: If unsure about any ritual, seek guidance from knowledgeable individuals or priests.


  1. Avoid New Beginnings: Refrain from starting any new ventures, buying property, or making significant investments.
  2. No Celebrations: Avoid celebrating any major events like weddings or housewarming ceremonies.
  3. Avoid Non-Vegetarian Food: Refrain from consuming non-vegetarian food and alcohol.
  4. Avoid Haircuts: Do not cut or trim hair during this period.
  5. Limit Physical Intimacy: Couples are advised to abstain from physical intimacy.
  6. Avoid Luxuries: Refrain from indulging in luxury items or entertainment.
  7. No Purchases: Avoid buying new clothes or other significant items.
  8. Limit Travel: Avoid long journeys or trips unless absolutely necessary.
  9. Avoid Negative Emotions: Stay away from anger, jealousy, and other negative emotions.
  10. Avoid Harsh Speech: Speak gently and avoid any form of harsh or hurtful speech.

Significance in Different Regions

While Pitrupaksha is observed pan-India, the customs might vary:

  • North India: Here, it’s popularly known as ‘Kanagat’. Many people go on pilgrimages to places like Gaya to perform the rituals.
  • South India: Referred to as ‘Mahalaya Paksham’, the rituals are similar, but there’s a greater emphasis on temple visits.

The Culmination: Mahalaya Amavasya

The last day, Mahalaya Amavasya, is the most significant. It’s believed that on this day, all departed souls come to Earth. Hence, people who don’t know the exact date of their ancestors’ death perform Shradh on this day.

Philosophical Perspective

Pitrupaksha serves as a reminder of the transient nature of life. It emphasizes the importance of family, lineage, and the duties one has towards ancestors. It’s a period of introspection, gratitude, and connection to one’s roots.


Pitrupaksha is not just a ritualistic observance but a deep-rooted tradition emphasizing respect, gratitude, and the cyclical nature of life and death. Observing Pitrupaksha with sincerity ensures peace for the departed souls and invokes their blessings for a prosperous life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pitrupaksha, also known as Mahalay, is a 15-day period dedicated to paying respects to the deceased souls of loved ones and ancestors.

In 2023, Pitrupaksha begins on Friday, 29th September and ends on Tuesday, 3rd October.

It is a time to offer respect to the departed souls, considered an integral part of Hindu families, through rituals and ceremonies.

The nomenclature of lunar months differs, but both North and South Indians perform Shraddha rituals on similar days.

The legend involves the warrior King Karna from Mahabharata, who was allowed to return to Earth for 15 days to donate food in memory of his ancestors

Shradh marks an important time to perform the ritual of Tarpan, a way of remembering and honoring departed souls by making offerings of their favorite vegetarian food.

Rituals performed during Shradh appease the departed souls, ensuring their blessings and protection for the living.

Pitrudosh is a negative astrological alignment created when Rahu is placed in certain houses of a horoscope, potentially hindering success despite talent and abilities.

By performing Shradh rituals with honesty, dedication, love, and respect, one can appease ancestors, ensuring their blessings and protection.

Tarpan helps in seeking blessings, assisting ancestors in attaining peace, and removing the effects of unnatural or untimely deaths.

Tarpan helps in seeking blessings, assisting ancestors in attaining peace, and removing the effects of unnatural or untimely deaths.

Performing Shradh rituals and appeasing ancestors during Pitrupaksha can help mitigate the effects of Pitrudosh.

Pitrupaksha is observed during the dark half of Ashwina (September-October) in the Hindu lunar calendar.

Food is offered as a token of respect to the departed souls, ensuring their blessings and protection.

Tarpan is a ritual of remembering and giving thanks to departed souls, ensuring their blessings and protection.

It’s preferred to perform Shradh on the death anniversary of departed family members. If the date is unknown, rituals can be performed on the last day of Pitrupaksha.

Unnatural deaths can prevent souls from attaining peace. Performing Tarpan during Shradh can help these souls find divine peace.

Devotees believe that ancestors shield them from life’s challenges and bestow blessings, ensuring protection from evil energies.

Pitrupaksha or Shradh Paksha comes right before Sharad Navratri in the Hindu calendar.

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