Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu) [India], September 25 (ANI): Lakhs of devotees on Sunday took a bath in the holy waters of Rameswaram's Agnitheertham, on the occasion of Mahalaya Paksha Amavasya, in which people commemorate their ancestors.
Mahalaya Amavasya, in the Tamil month of Puratasi, is considered to be the day when our deceased ancestors come to earth. The 15 days before Puratasi Amavasya is the Mahalaya paksha period where paksha refers to 15 days.
The fortnight starting from the full moon of the Tamil month of Avani and ending with Amavasya of the Puratasi month is known as Mahalaya Paksham.
Swami Anmolanand Giriji Maharaj, a priest in Rameswaram, told ANI, "Today is Amavasya, people visit Rameswaram to offer prayers to their ancestors. This Amavasya has great significance everyone performs Pitru Dosh during Pitru Paksha. These 15 days are dedicated to the Pitru. Pind Daan from Havan material is done here in Rameswaram for worship. Rameswaram is a jyotirlinga and a Dham, and performing such rituals at a Dham has its own significance."
Devotees waited in long lines to take a dip in 22 theerathams in the temple.
The month is considered an auspicious time to offer prayers to the departed souls of our ancestors. As per traditions, it is believed that those who are not able to pay Amavasi Tithi every month and those who have forgotten the Tithi date of their ancestors, can pay homage during this time.
The occasion is associated with different practices and rituals. Many people perform 'tarpan' on this day to offer prayers to the departed souls of their ancestors and give 'bhog' to the Brahmins, along with food and materials to the needy. People even prefer listening to the Mahishasuramardini composition.
Generally, people believe that on this day, Goddess Durga officially begins her journey from Mount Kailash -- where she resides with her husband Lord Shiva -- to her maternal home on Earth. As per the Hindu calendar, the celebrations of Mahalaya begin a week before the Durga Pooja celebrations. (ANI)