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Traditionally, Gaya has been well thought-out as one of the holiest cities for Hindus. Its spiritual significance becomes more important during the occurrence of Pitrapaksha. During Pitrapaksha each Hindu has responsibility to worship their ancestors. Hindus, on this juncture, perform Shraddha custom and do Pinda Daan ritual. This is thought to bring revitalization to the departed soul for its peace and happiness. Gayalis who are well thought-out as the descendents of Magga Brahmin perform Vedic Shraddha ritual.
Since the time of Lord Buddha, the Pinda Daan ceremony is performed. It is said that Lord Buddha had performed first Pinda Daan at Gaya. Origin of Pinda Daan in Gaya and about this holy ritual has also been described in some Brahmin Purans. According to one Puran, Gaya - a demon had become so powerful that even Gods started feeling insecure about him. Then Gods wanted to finish him but he wished to die in the holy city of Gaya.
As per another anecdote and Dharmasastras, Vishnu provides a list of over 50 tirthas (holy places) but he proclaims that dead ancestors pray to God for a son who would offer pinda (lymph of rice) to them at Gaya. Pitra Paksha is carried out for the departed direct relatives usually up to three previous generations. Turning the pages of earlier history, one comes across the Puranic myth where it has been acknowledged that Gaya is the holiest place for Hindus. The Pitrapaksha Mela in Gaya is organized in the month of September when people from all over group to this place to offer Pinda Daan to their ancestors. The ending day of this period, the new moon day is most significant day in the year for performing obsequies and rites.
Pitra Paksha is performed among Hindus from the 1st day / tithi of the Ashwin month (around October) to the following New Moon (Amavasya) day. Each of these 15 days is devoted to the Shraddha of those ancestors who had met infinity on that particular day/tithi. Pitrapaksha is the event to reimburse debt to our departed ancestors by pleasing their souls by performing rites. Hindus think that during Pitrpaksha, Yamaraja, the Lord of death permits the souls to come down to the earth and accept offers from their descendants.