Mahalaya Shraddh Paksha or Pitru Paksha Shraddh is the fortnight dedicated to Shraddh rituals to Pitru devatas or dead ancestors. Mahalaya Paksha 2014 starts on September 9 and ends on September 24 with Mahalaya Amavasya.
Pitru Paksha or Shraddh Paksha begins on the first day of Ashwin month and ends on the fifteenth day of the Ashwin as per North Indian calendar. The Ashwin Krishna Paksha coincides with Krishna Paksha in Bhadrapad month as per Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat calendars.
Mahalaya Paksha Shraddh rituals begin on Ashwin Prathami or Padyami and ends on Mahalaya Amavasya. Mahalaya Amavasya is the most important and auspicious day to perform Shraddh rituals to dead ancestors. Pithru means ancestors. Pithru is also spelt as Pitru or Pitri or Pitr. In Puranas and other Hindu sacred texts it is mentioned that we should do Pithru Tharpan daily. If not possible, we should do Pithru Tarpan even in Mahalaya Paksha.
Pitru Tharpan or the rituals to our pitru devatas are considered as very auspicious rituals. It is believed that our Pitru devatas attain salvation and bless us with harmony and prosperity if we perform Pitru karmas regularly and successfully.