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Tila Tarpan – Shradh Tarpan Ritual using Til or Sesame Seeds

Tila, or Sesame seeds (Til or Ellu in South India), is an important puja item while performing Shradh and Tarpan – rituals and rites for dead ancestors, parents and relatives. According to Hindu scriptures, Tila or Black Sesame is one of the favorite items offered to the dead. Another popular belief is that there will be no obstruction to the Shraddh rituals if sesame is offered.

In Tila Tarpan, black sesame seeds are mixed with water and are offered to the ancestors. Each ancestor is offered separate Tila Tarpan.

In most regions, Tila Tarpan is performed after offering the annual Shradh. In some regions, if it is performed while performing annual Shradh or Pitru Paksha Shraddh then Tila Tarpan is performed the next day after Shradh rituals.

Til contains fire, water and earth. Only Til has the correct combination of the three elements. Pitrus come down and enter Til during the Shradh ceremony. Pancha Bhutas which form the body is represented through Til.

Til is also distributed on the day to the poor and is also sprinkled by some communities around their homes.

Only black sesame seeds are used for Tarpan rituals. White Til is avoided.