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Shradh 2018 Dates – Mahalaya Pitri Paksha Calendar 2018 - A Complete Guide to Shradh Rituals in Hinduism

In Hinduism, Shradh is the rituals performed by relatives for the departed souls of dead ancestors, parents and relatives. Shradh Dates in 2018 as per Hindu calendar followed in India is from September 25 to October 8, 2018. Below are the Mahalaya Pitru Paksha and Shradh 2018 dates. Tarpan and Shradh are performed on all Amavasi or no moon days. But the most important period to perform Shradh is the Pitru Paksha period during the Krishna Paksha fortnight in Ashwin month (September – October). In some regions this period is the Bhadrapad Krishna Paksha.



Pitru Paksha Shraddh Dates in 2018

September 25, 2018 – Purnima Shradh
September 25, 2018 – Pratipada Shradh
September 26, 2018– Dwitiya Shradh 
September 27 – Tritiya Shradh
September 28 – Chaturthi Shradh
September 29 – Panchami Shradh
September 30 – Shasti Shradh
October 1 – Saptami Shradh
October 2, 2018 – Ashtami Shradh
October 3 – Navami Shradh (Avidhwa Navami)
October 4 – Dasami Shradh
October 5– Ekadashi Shradh
October 6 – Dwadashi Shradh
October 7, 2018 – Trayodashi Shradh
October 7, 2018 – Chaturdashi Shradh
October 8, 2018 – Mahalaya Amavasi – Most important day of Shradh - On this day Shradh can be performed without looking date, tithi, nakshatra etc - it is known as Sarva Pitru Shradh.


Shradh and Tarpan are also performed on all Amavasya day in a year. You can find the Amavasya dates in 2018 in this earlier article – Amavas 2018 dates.

Apart from this Shradh is also performed on the birth star or nakshatra of the dead person and also on the tithi or rasi or nakshatra the person died.

Another popular date for performing Shradh is the Basant Panchami day in Magh month. In 2018, Basant Panchami is on January 22.

Shradh is also performed on 12 Sankrantis in a year - Each occur during the middle of an English month.

Shradh is also performed during Lunar and Solar Eclipse - Chandra Grahan and Surya Grahan.

It is also performed by some communities during Yugadi and on starting of years in various calendars.

Apar from this Shradh is also performed the death date or nakshatra or Tithi.

In Tamil Nadu, Shradh is observed on Thai Amavasi and Aadi Amavasi.

In Kerala, the ritual is observed on Karkidaka Vavu Bali.

When to Perform Shradh and Tarpan if date of death is not known?

If the date of death is not known, you can still perform Shradh and Tarpan. Shradh and Tarpan are important annual ritual dedicated to dead ancestors in Hinduism. In case you do not know the date when the person died and know the month, then you can perform in on the Amavasi or no moon day in the month.

Another option is you can perform the shradh on the date when you received the news of death.

If you do not know the date of death and month, then it can be performed on Magh Amavasya or Margashirsh Amavasya – no moon day in Magh or Margashirsh month.

You can also offer water daily to ancestors and this is also Shradh. It can be done daily in the morning.

Apart from this, you can perform it yearly on Mahalaya Amavasi.

For people in Tamil Nadu, it can be performed on Thai Amavasi or Aadi Amavasi.

In Kerala, it is performed on Karkidaka Vavu.

Please note that for all Shradh purposes English date is not used. Tithi or nakshatra as per Hindu panchang and calendar is used. This change every year.

Can women perform Shradh?

Yes, women can perform Shradh rituals. Daughter, wife, sister and daughter-in-law of a person can perform Shradh. Some communities deny the right to perform Shradh to women and this is the result of ignorance and due to chauvinistic attitude.

Society and community as a whole should support women who come forward to perform the last rites of family members and relatives.

As per Sanatana Dharma there is no different between and sons and daughters. Supreme Truth resides in all living beings and discrimination of a living being in any form is equal to discriminating God.

Pitur in Hinduism – Meaning and Definition of Pitr in Shradh

Pitur or Pitr is a term associated with Shradh rituals in Hinduism. When a human being dies, its subtle body gets free from the dead body after performing the ritual of Shradh. Then it gets a position in the subtle plain meant for souls of dead people.

When the dead person enters the world meant for souls it is known as Pitur or Pitr.

Pitrs or Pitrukal is the term used to refer to various ancestors.

Who are the presiding deities of Shradh?

The presiding deities of Shradh are Vasu, Rudra, Aditya, Pururav, Aardrav and Dhurilochan. They are invoked while offering Shradh.

Mantras chanted and rites performed during the Shradh connect with the deities.

The deceased person is considered as a follower of Vasu, his/her parents of Rudra and his/her grandparents of Aditya.

Ancestors – father or mother, grandfather or grandmother or great grandfather or great grandmother – are considered as representatives of Vasu, Rudra and Aditya. Their names are pronounced as representatives of the above said deities.

Narayan Bali Puja – What is Narayan Bali Puja Shradh in Hindu Funeral Rituals?

Narayan Bali Puja is performed to give moksha to those souls that met with an unusual death like suicide, accident, murder or death by animals like snake etc. Effectively Narayan Bali Puja purifies the deceased from sins and renders the person fit for being offered a Shradha.

Basically it based on the belief that one who met with an unnatural death will be still wandering on the earth. The usual Shradh that are performed are ineffective. To first give release to the soul Narayan Bali Puja is performed. Then other Shradh rituals can be performed.

Narayan Bali Puja should be performed on the Shukla Paksha Ekadasi tithi or the 11th day during the waxing phase of moon in a fortnight.

If the person died of Snake bite then the ritual should be performed on the Shukla Paksha Panchami tithi or the fifth day during the waxing phase of moon.

The rituals and puja are dedicated to Vishnu and Yama.

Narayan Bali Puja is performed in Gaya in Bihar, Mahabaleshwar Temple in Gokarana in Karnataka and Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu.

You will need the help of a qualified priest to perform the puja.

Narayan Bali Puja details are found in the Vishnu Purana and Yajnavalkya Smriti.

What is Darsha Shradh?

Darsha Shradh is performed on no moon day or Amavasya. It is performed when a person is unable to perform daily Shradh. Darsh means no moon night.

Performing Darsha Shradh is equal to performing Shradh daily.

Daily Shradh is that in which a person offers water daily to the souls of ancestors. There is no elaborate ceremony. When this is not possible Darsha Shradh is performed.

Tripindi Shradh

Tripindi Shradh is an important funeral ritual performed in Hinduism. This is performed if Shradh offerings are not done for three consecutive years. It is believed that a person who does not receive Shradh for three consecutive years falls into the Pret Yoni.

To help the soul to escape from Pret Yoni, Tripindi Shradh is performed.

The puja and rituals are dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

One need the help of a priest to perform the Tripindi Shradh.

It is performed at Vishnupad Temple in Gaya in Bihar.

Trishali – Three Tirthas Famous for Pitru Tarpana and Shraddha

Trishali is the name given to three Tirthas, sacred water bodies and places, famous for Pitru Tarpana and Shraddha in Hinduism. Pitru Tarpana and Shraddha are important ceremonies performed by Hindus for the souls of the ancestors to achieve Moksha or liberation.

Trishali tirthas are Prayag (confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati), Varanasi or Kashi and Gaya.

All these holy places are located on the banks of Ganga River.

Millions of Hindus perform Pitru Tarpana and Shraddha in the above said places.

Mahalaya Amavasya

Mahalaya Amavasya is observed on the no moon day (Amavas) in the month of Ashvin or Ashvayuja (September-October). Mahalaya Amavasya 2018 date is on October 8. Mahalaya should be performed in the morning. It is the final and the most important day during the Pitru Paksha Shradh fortnight. The popular belief is that performing Mahalaya Shradh is equal to performing Shradh and Tarpan on all days of Pitru Paksha.

Mahalaya Amavasya also marks the beginning of Durga Puja rituals. Goddess Durga descends on to earth on the day.

It is said that those people who failed to observe Shradh rituals on a particular day during Pitru Paksha fortnight can solve it by observing Mahalaya Amavasya Shradh.

Another popular belief suggests that the souls of those people who had unnatural deaths like accident etc are satisfied and rest in peace when their relatives or sons or daughters perform Mahalaya Amavasya Tarpan rituals.

Pinda Daan Ritual Dedicated to the Dead

Pinda Daan is an important ritual dedicated to the dead in Hinduism. Offering Pindas (Pinda Daan) helps the soul of the dead person to achieve Moksha.

It is believed that after Pinda Daan ritual the soul of the dead person severs his/her attachment with the materialistic world and attains liberation and merges with the Supreme Soul.

Pinda Daan during Pitra Paksha fortnight in Ashwin month is considered the apt period to satisfy an unsatisfied spirit.

Varanasi (Kashi), Gaya, Gokarna and many places along the banks of River Ganga are chosen to perform Pinda Daan ritual during Pitru Paksha fortnight.

Pinda Daan ritual is performed with the help of a learned priest or acharya. The rites during Pinda Daan ritual varies from region to region and also depend on the mode of death. Special rites and rituals are performed for unnatural deaths like suicide, accident, murder etc.

Sapindikaran Shradh

Sapindikaran Shradh is an important Shradh ritual for some Hindu communities. It is performed one day before the one year completion of death of the person.

After this ritual, the soul of the dead person joins other Piturs and then gets further categorized as Parvan.

The soul of the dead person gains authority to allow his/her descendants to perform Parvan Shradh.

Pishangi – Rangoli or Kolam drawn using Ash in Shradh Ritual

Pishangi is Shradh ritual is the rangoli or kolam drawn using ash and with chanting of mantras around the meal plate arranged for priest. The rangoli is drawn in clockwise direction.

Rangoli is also drawn in a clockwise direction around the food plate arranged for deities and in reverse direction around the food plate arranged for ancestor’s soul.

Pishangi is drawn during all types of Shradh. Today it is only drawn by most communities while performing Pindadaan.

Child Shradh Rituals for Dead Son or Daughter – Balabholaniteras during Pitru Paksha Fortnight

Death of a son or daughter when the parents are alive is considered highly unfortunate. No words can console such parents. In Hinduism, during Pitru Paksha Shradh fortnight in Aswhin month there are special rituals and rites for children who have passed away when their parents are alive. It is known as Kakbali or Balabholaniteras in Gujarat and in 2018, the child Shradh rituals are on October 6.

Balabholaniteras is observed on the 13th day of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) in the month of Ashwin in North India. It is the thirteenth day of the Pitru Paksha Shradh fortnight.

The rites and ritual is also known as kakbali as offerings are made to crows on the day.

Ghatha Chaturdashi - For Those Who Had Unnatural Death

The rites and rituals on the fourteenth day during the Pitru Paksha fortnight is offered to those people who passed away due to accidents or those that met with other unnatural deaths like snake bites, accidents, suicide, war etc. The day is known as Ghatt Chaturdashi or Ghatha Chaturdasi in some regions. In 2018, Ghatha Chaturdashi is on October 7.

There is a strong belief that the souls of those people who had an unnatural death, will be wandering around and do not rest in peace. Hindus perform special pujas, rites and rituals for the dead person’s soul to rest in peace.

This Tithi is meant for Accidental Victims only. Others not to do paksha on this day.

For those who are doing “Sakrunmahaalaya” – that is Shraddha on only a particular day of the Paksha Masa, they need not do it on this day. However, for those who are doing paksha daily, they can do it on this day also.

Soubhagyavati Shradh

Soubhagyavati Shradh is observed on the ninth day of the Pitru Paksha fortnight and is dedicated to women who did not die as a widow. It is observed during the waning phase of moon (Krishna Paksha) in Ashwin month. Soubhagyavati Shradh 2018 date is October 3. Soubhagya Vati Shradh rituals and rites are strictly followed for women who died when their husbands were alive.

In some regions, the no rituals are performed on the day. Instead food or meal is offered to the married woman’s soul. Some people also feed a Sumangali (married women) on the day.

Soubhagyavati rituals vary from region to region and from community to community. But in all regions on the day, Shradh is performed for one's mother or any other woman in the family, who did not die a widow.

In the rituals, instead of deities, demigods known as dhurilochan whose eyes remain half closed are invoked. Dhuri means smoke and lochan means eyes; their eyes remain half closed due to smoke.

Ashataka Shradh – Krishna Ashtami Shraddha

Ashataka Shradh is observed on the eighth day during the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in the month of Margashish, Paush, Magh and Falgun months. On Ashataka Shraddha day, dead ancestors, relatives and parents are offered their favorite food on the day.

In some regions and for some Hindu communities, it is observed mainly on Falgun (February – March) Krishna Paksha Ashtami (eighth day during waning phase of moon).

Ashataka Shraddha is believed to have been performed during the Vedic period and is mentioned in the Mahabharata.

Dead souls are offered vegetables, sesame seeds (Til) and some of their favorite food items.

Vedic deities like Agni, Surya, Prajapati are propitiated on the day.

Yatinam Mahalaya

Yatinam Mahalaya is observed during Pitru Paksha period on the 12th or the Dwadasi day in the Bhadrapada month and is dedicated to Sanyasis or Yathi. In 2018, Yatheenam Mahalaya is on October 6. On this day, Pitru Paksha Shradh is not performed for other forefathers. (Please note this custom is more famous in South India especially with some Hindu communities in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh).

The reason for performing the Shradh for Sanyasis and saints is that they have preserved and passed on the knowledge of Sanatana Dharma and had done great service to the society.

Shradh for Missing Persons – Death Rituals in Hindu Religion for Family Members Who Cannot Be Traced

If a person is missing for several years, some Hindu communities presume the person to be dead and perform the Hindu rituals that are performed for the dead. By most Hindu communities when a person is missing for 12 years, the death of the person is assumed by relatives. The rituals are performed after 12 years.

Since the physical body of the person is not available – a body is made using Durva or Kusha Grass. This is then burnt on a pyre. Symbolically, now the person is dead for the family. Rest of the Shradh rituals are then followed as per general rules.

Some communities do not perform the burning of durva or kusha grass. Instead the directly do the Shradh ceremony.

It must be noted that such extreme step of performing Shradh for missing person is only taken by the family when the person missing is very old or the family is sure that the person has no chance of surviving.

Shradh Tarpan And Other Death Rituals For Those Committed Suicide

The rites and rituals on the fourteenth day during the Pitru Paksha fortnight is also offered to those people who committed suicide. The day is known as Ghat Chaturdashi in some regions. Observed in Ashwin month, the Shradh and tapan date for those committed suicide is on October 7, 2018.

There is a popular belief among some devout Hindus that the souls of those people who had an unnatural death wander around and do not rest in peace. Hindus perform special pujas, rites and rituals for the dead person’s soul to rest in peace.

Pitru Paksha fortnight Shradh rites and rituals observed during the Krishna Paksha of Ashwin month are considered apt for giving peace to the souls of all types of unnatural deaths.

All Shradh rituals are best performed with the help of knowledgeable elderly person or a qualified priest.

Maka or Bhringraj Leaf in Shradh Rituals

Bhringraj leaf is widely used in Shradh Rituals in some regions. Bhringraj is known as Bhangra, Maka in Marathi, Kayyunni in Malayalam, Karisalaankanni in Tamil and Garugada Soppu in Kannada. It is used to restrain the Rajasic and Tamasic particles that stop the free movement of pitrus from their world to earth.

Maka or Bhringraj leaf is basically used to purify the atmosphere.


Bhringraj leaf is offered in worship to Pitrus and Tulsi leaf is offered to Gods. Both help in incident free travel of pitrus to earth. They create positive energy and destroys all negative energy.

In short, Bhringraj helps in the successful completion of the Shradh ritual. It is a must in many regions.

Nag Bali Shradh – Performed For Overcoming Sin Associated with Killing Snake – Cobra

Nag Bali Shradh is performed for overcoming sin associated with killing of snakes or serpents. The ritual is performed by those that have killed a cobra or other nagas.

In the Nag Bali ritual a murti or idol of Nag is made using wheat dough. A funeral is performed and the Naag is given a proper burial.

It is believed that after performing the ritual the person will be relieved of the sins.

Serpents are worshipped in Hinduism and killing of them is considered a sin.

Narayana Nag Bali Puja – Narayan Puja for Those Who Died of Snake Bites

Narayana Nag Bali Puja is performed for those people who died as a result of snake bites. To give moksha to the soul of such people Narayan Puja is performed on a Shukla Paksha Ekadasi tithi or the 11th day during the waxing phase of moon.

From the death for one year the serpent god should be worshipped on the fifth day during the waxing phase of moon – Shukla Paksha Panchami. The puja should be simple. Just offerings and prayers to Nag devatas.

When one year after death ends, Narayana Bali puja should be performed with the help of a qualified priest in Gaya or Gokarna or Rameshwaram or other known places where the puja is performed.

After this Anndadam or food donation should be performed.

Now it is believed that the person who died due to snake bite has got his soul released from earth. From then onwards normal Shradh puja can be performed.

Ekodrishti Shradh – Ekodristi Shradha at Gaya

Ekodrishti Shradh is a unique Shradh ritual performed at Gaya. It is a Tirth Shradh and is completed in a single day. Shradh is performed at three important spots in Gaya as part of the ritual.

The three spots are
Falgu River
Vishnupad Temple
Akshavata.

If the person to whom the Shradh is performed had an unusual or accidental death; then pind daan should also be performed at Pretshila hill, Gaya kup and Dharmaranya.

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