by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Mahalaya Paksha, Amavasya Tharpanam procedure

Of all the misconceptions, the ones regarding Mahalaya Paksham and Mahalaya Amavasya are the most confusing.  For one, Mahalaya Paksham (மஹாளய பக்ஷம்) includes the Mahalaya Amavasya (மஹாளய அமாவாசை) Tharpanam, but does not include the usual Kanya maasa (கன்யா-மாஸ அமாவாசை) Amavasya Tharpanam.

We noticed last year that many people had downloaded the Mahalaya Amavasya Tharpanam procedure in Tamil, and hopefully performed the ceremony without any confusion.  But in case of confusion, here is a short explanation.

Mahalaya Paksham consists of 15 Tharpanams on 15 days (some years maybe 16) starting from Prathamai and finishing on the Mahalaya Amavasya day, *plus* the usual Amavasya Tharpanam which *has* to be performed separate, for a total of 16 (or 17) Tharpanams.

People who find it difficult to perform all the 16 Tharpanams, instead perform on one of the 4 (in some cases 3), namely:
  1. Mahalaya Paksha Tharpanam on the Father’s Thithi (provided the day fulfills certain conditions-restrictions);
  2. Mahalaya Paksha Tharpanam on Maha-Bharani;
  3. Mahalaya Paksha Tharpanam on Madhya-Ashtami;
  4. Mahalaya Paksha Tharpanam on Trayodashi day; and,
the additional, usual Amavasya Tharpanam on the Amavasya day.

Thus on the Mahalaya Amavasya Day, usually 2 tharpanams *have* to be performed -
  • first a Mahalaya Paksha tharpanam; to be followed by,
  • the usual Amavasya tharpanam.
The Mahalaya Paksha tharpanam offers the opportunity to perform Shardham in the form of Tharpanam to all those ancestors for whom -
  • Shardham is not performed - usually lack of male heirs;
  • Shardham cannot be performed - since we are not the direct heirs;
So, do not download the procedure for Mahalaya Paksha tharpanam and perform that instead of the usual Amavasya Tharpanam.  You will end up neither here nor there.

If you want to religiously follow the Mahalaya Paksha tharpanam procedure, (and there is no reason why we should not), download the procedure & for the usual Amavasya Tharpanam, use the Free Amavasya Tharpana Sankalpam Generator.

Both of them (and other current Pooja procedures) can be downloaded from the

Downloads page



  1. Vadiyar says Amavasai tarpanam takes precedence. So we do that first followed by Mahalaya tarpanam on Mahalaya Amavasai.

  2. Amavasya is the new moon night in Hindu calender.Amavasya holds great importance in Hinduism.On this auspicious day performing Tharpanam for ancestors, will relieve them from pitra dosha.Read More

  3. Mahalaya amavasya falls on puratasi. Mahalaya amavasya is the day for tarpanam. It is very important for the self growth.By getting the blessing of the ancestors on mahalaya amavasya one can clear the obstacles of the life . To known more


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