Devout Hindus converged on the banks of River Ganges in Varanasi on Monday to take holy dip as part of their annual ritual of 'Pind Daan' and prayed for the salvation of their ancestors.
Dinesh Shankar Dubey, a priest, said that Hindus thronged the banks of the river to perform religious rituals 'Pind Daan' as the Pitr-Paksha period (16-lunar day period as per Hindu calendar) comes to an end on Monday.
"The devotees pray for the salvation of the departed souls of their ancestors. After performing religious rituals, they will offer food to the priests and will also donate clothes. The ritual holds importance in the holy city of Kashi as it is located on the banks of River Ganges and there is temple of Baba Vishwanath. They visit the temple after performing religious rituals," said Dubey.
Pitr-paksha generally falls in September or October every year.
According to traditional beliefs, the eldest son of a family performs Pind Daan and pays homage to their ancestors (Pitrs), especially through food offerings.
The devotees also get their heads tonsured as a part of the ritual for the departed souls. The food is usually cooked in silver or copper vessels and placed on banana leaves.
In Kolkata, a large number of devotees gathered in Kolkata city of India's eastern West Bengal state and they also took holy dip.
People queued up before priests who had erected makeshift altars on the riverbanks to perform the rituals and offered prayers.
Devotees believe that once the ritual is performed, the souls of their ancestors shall be relieved of all the sins and they would be freed from the cycle of birth and death.
According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that when humans die, their mortal body turns to dust. However, the soul remains, until it does not find another mortal body to reside. The cycle of rebirth can cease and the soul can receive salvation, if these sacred rituals are performed. (ANI)