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A group of 20 foreign nationals recently visited Gaya in Bihar to perform the Pindadaan ceremony to pay homage to their ancestors. The Hindu ritual is usually performed by the male members of the family to repay debts to their forefathers, and bring salivation to the departed souls.
The group, which included 19 women devotees, with 5 Russians and 4 Germans, reached Gaya and chose to do the three-days Pindadaan ritual under the guidance of Lok Nath Gaur of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the Times of India reported. This long format allowed the group to know more about the pious Hindu ritual.
The group was inspired by ISKCON, which promotes Hinduism and its beliefs in other countries, to visit India and perform this ceremony.
Led by Gaur, the group arrived on the banks of the Falgu River in Gaya on Sept. 8 to start the ritual. All the members visited Pretshila, which is an important altar for Pindadaan, the next day, followed by Suphal, which marks the completion of the ceremony at Akshayvat. All the rituals were supervised by gayawal panda Purushottam Lal Katariyar.
Gaya district magistrate Kuma Ravi met all the group members and presented them with a souvenir called tarpan. He also took their feedback on the arrangement and their experiences in the town. All the members appreciated the arrangements and services for the pilgrims during their visit. Displaying their keenness towards the religion, they also adopted Hinduism and got Hindu names while performing the ritual.
What is Pindadaan?
Pindadaan is a mandatory ritual performed by Hindus for their ancestors, since it is believed that the dead souls attain moksha (salvation) only after their family members perform this ritual.
Destinations for Pindadaan:
Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh), Haridwar & Badrinath (Uttarakhand), Kurukshetra (Haryana), and Gaya (Bihar) are the destinations where Pindadaan can be performed. Gaya is known to be the most pious destination among all.
When can be Pindadaan done in Gaya:
It can be done throughout the year. However, the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th day of Amawasya (new moon) is considered the best time. Other auspicious days include the ‘Krishna Paksh’ in any month and the 18th day of ‘Paksh Mela’.
Who can perform Pindadaan?
Traditionally, only male members of the family are eligible to perform this ritual. However, legends have it that Sita was the first female to perform this ritual for king Dasharath while in exile.