The term pitri paksha suggests it is the time when Hindus offer prayers and food to the ancestors. This also symbolises taking care of the elders and the poor.
Mahalaya: For the last 8 decades Birendra Krishna Bhadra's Chandipath has been the quintessential part of the Mahalaya celebration in Bengal. The man is dead but his voice resonates through the celebration every year.
Mahalaya marks the day when the male descendants of the deceased pray to Goddess Durga in the name of their ancestors. It is considered an auspicious day. The offering is known as 'Tarpan'. The believers go to the Hoogly river, a tributary of the Ganges in Kolkata to take a holy dip.
The food offerings made to ancestors are offered on a banana leaf or cups made of dried leaves. The significance of this act in today's world is that with the society is becoming extremely materialistic and things like giving something to someone without a reason, like food and clothing are getting scarce. Hence the celebration of pitri-paksha should act to somehow awaken these habits in people.
Jagannanth Ghat is located on the eastern bank of River Hoogly, just to the north of Howrah Bridge. It was beautifully constructed in classical European style by Shobharam Basak, the famous trader and merchant, who became a millionaire by supplying textiles to the East India Company. People from all over Bengal and outside congregate at this place on Mahalaya morning.