Mahalaya, a significant occasion, signifies the conclusion of Pitru Paksha or Shradh. Those who couldn’t offer ‘pinda’ to their forefathers during the 16 days of Pitru Paksha are fulfilling this ritual today.
In the temple city of Bhubaneswar’s Old Town and the pilgrim city of Puri, the atmosphere is vibrant on Mahalaya. People gather near the Bindusagar tank by Lingaraj temple and the northern gate of Srimandir to perform ’tila tarpan’ and ‘pinda daan’ for their ancestors. It is a tradition to offer ‘pinda daan’ to three generations of maternal uncles on Mahalaya. This act is believed to grant moksha to our forefathers. Mahalaya holds the significance of showing respect to ancestors even after their passing and marks the beginning of Devi Paksha, initiating Durga Puja celebrations.
On Mahalaya, individuals offer ‘pinda’ to their forefathers and departed maternal ancestors, connecting deeply with their faith. Meanwhile, in Sambalpur, devotees flock to Samaleswari temple to witness goddess Samaleswari’s Dhabalamukhi Besha. On this day, the goddess transitions from her usual red attire to a white costume, symbolizing purity. The deity is adorned with traditionally prepared white paint and remains in Dhabalamukhi Besha for two and a half days. During this time, priests also wear white attire while worshipping the deity. This special darshan is known as ‘Ganga Darshan’ and is believed to offer the same spiritual benefits as taking a holy dip in the Ganga.