To help departed souls attain salvation, their kin observe Shraadha rituals, perform Tarpan and do Pind Daan annually, especially during the Pitru Paksha period which falls in September-October according to the Gregorian calendar.
This year, the Pitru Paksha commenced on September 16 and shall culminate with Mahalaya Amavaysa on September 30.
A number of people do Pind Daan in Gaya, which is believed to be one of the holiest places to perform Shraadha rituals.
Pind daan facilitates the creation of an atmosphere that helps departed souls attain Moksha by freeing themselves from the materialistic world. Until they get liberated from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, they shall roam around anxiously and continue to exist in a state of complete despair.
Pind are balls made of rice flour, wheat, sesame seeds, honey and milk. Seven pinds are made and offered to the departed souls during Shraadha.
In Gaya, Pinds are offered to the footprint of Lord Vishnu near river Falgu, Akshay Vat, Mangala Gowri and a few other holy places.
If you wish to do Pind Daan in Gaya, you can choose the 7th, 5th, 3rd or 1st day of Amavasya with Krishna Paksha in any of the months according to the Hindu calendar or during the Pitru Paksha Mela held annually. You may consult your family priest to help you chose the appropriate date.
The Shraadha is completed after observing the following rituals – Snana (bathing) and Sankalpa ( determination), Pind Daan and finally Tarpan.