Every Brahmin, should at least once visit Allahabad (Prayag), Varanasi (Kasi) and Gaya, and give sacred oblations to their ancestors. Only people who have started performing sraddhams to their father can do this. Other people no doubt can visit these places and visit the most holy temples there, but cannot do the rites for their ancestors. It is essential for the people with such intentions to do it in the proper religious manner and go there accompanied by their wife, and do it without being exploited and see to it that every rite is done in a systematic (customery) manner.
If younger brothers accompany the elder brothers, the eldest brother on their behalf would do most of the ceremonies and the younger brothers need not do these ceremonies again.
A soul gets human life because of noble karmas in the previous many lives. Sastras have given many tips to make this rare human life a purposeful one. Everyone has to carry out Kasha Yatra once in their life time.
The Kasi Yatra commences from Rameshwaram and continues at Prayaga (Allahabad), Kasi (Varanasi), Gaya and finally concludes at Rameshwaram. The rituals to be performed at all these places are given below.
RAMESHWARAM SETHU YATHRA
The first step in this pilgrimage is to go to Rameshwaram, perform the sraddham there, followed by samudhra and theertha snana. After doing samudhra snana, we would be asked to bring sand from the sea. This is made in to three shiva lingams-sethu madhava, veni madhava and bindhu madhava. After pooja the lingam representing sethu madhava is put back in to the sea. The priest then asks you to repeat the sankalpa to the varanasi-prayag-gaya pilgrimage. The sand lingams of
veni madhava has to be deposited in the prayag [allahabad] and that of bindhu madhava in varanasi.then sraddham to the ancestors is performed there. Instead of pinda [cooked rice balls], in rameshwaram, the pinda is made of wet uncooked rice.
Sankalpam: Before initiation of ritual, a vow is taken for purification from all misdeeds and completion of the yatra with the blessings of Vedic Brahmins.
Maha Samudra Snanam and Sand Collection: After the Samudra Snanam the sand from Dhanushkoti is collected for emersion into the ganges at Prayag (Allahabad).
Snannam at 22 wells of sacred teertham: It is a Pitru Puja performed to please the departed souls of past three generations (Pitru (Father), Pitamaha (Grand Father) and Prapitamaha (Great Grand Father)) and Karunikas (All departed relatives and Guru). The Hiranya Rupa Shraddham is performed in the presence of Brahmins followed by Pinda Pradanam, Tila Tarpanam and Brhma Yagnam.
Shraddham (Hinranya Rupam): Shraddham performed with Homam and feeding either 2 or 5 brahmins followed by Tila Tarpanam and Pinda Pradanam.
Theertha Shraddham (Parvanam): Shraddham performed with Homam and feeding either 2 or 5 brahmins followed by Tila Tarpanam and Pinda Pradanam.
VARANASI KASI YATRA
1. Religious rites to be performed at Prayag
- Sangama Snanam
- Theertha Shraddam
2. Important places at Allahabad
- Sankara Vimana Mandapam
- Bada Hanuman
- Bharadwaja Ashram
- Ananda Bhavan
- Veni Madhavar
1.Religious rites to be performed at Gaya
- Palguni Theertha Shraddam
- Vishnu Pada Shraddam
- Akshaya Vatha Anna Shraddam
- Trupti Prasnam, Subhala Vashanam
2.Importance places at Gaya
- Gadhahar Temple
- Gayeswari Amman
- Sakshi Gopalan
- Bodh Gaya
Religious rites to be performed at Kasi (Varanasi)
- Sankalpa Maha Prayashchitam
- Manikarnika Snanam
- Theertha Shraddam (Paravanam or Hiranyam)
- Pancha Ganga Pinda Shraddam
Name of Pancha Ghats
- Assi Ghat (Haridwara Theertham)
- Dasashvamedha Ghat (Rudhra Sarovara Teertham)
- Trilochana Ghat (Vishnu Padooka Theertham)
- Pancha Ganga Ghat (Pancha Maha Theertham)
- Manikarnika Ghat (Manikarnika Theertham)
- Dampati Pooja
- Ganga Pooja
- Kala Bhairav Samaradhanaa
Important places at Kasi (Varanasi)
- Dundi Ganapathi
- Anna poorani
- Kala Bhairavar
- Bindu Madhavar
- Saranath (Buddha Temple)
- Sankata Mokshana Hanuman
- Durga Mandir
- Kowdi Mada Mandir
- Tulasi Manasa Mandir
- Chintamani Vinayakr
- Gowri Kedareswarar
On return from Kasi pilgrimage, one has to go back to Rameswaram to perform the following to complete the rituals.
- Sangalpa Snanam
- Teertha Snanam
- Hiranya Shraddam
- Rudra Jabam
- Swami Dharshan
Note: After completion of the Yatra a Samaradhana also needs to be performed.
- Shraddham or performing the Vedic rites to appease one’s forefathers is of two types - Anna roopam and Hiranya roopam. Anna Shrraddham is where a certain number of Brahmins are invited, and are fed at the completion of the rituals. This is considered equivalent to feeding one’s ancestors. However, this is quite tedious, and sometimes expensive. Hence the second option, Hiranya Shrraddham, where the Brahmins are fed only symbolically. This is a quicker and cheaper alternative to the same rituals. At places like Kasi the pundits offer us the option of choosing which kind of ritual we would like to perform, depending on our time and budget. Naandhi and Vaishnava Shrraddham refer to the rites for appeasement of one’s ancestors and the Gods, respectively.
- Pinda pradaanam is the ritual of offering food to three (in case of Gaya, more than that) generations of our ancestors. Balls of cooked rice and Til (sesame seeds), which are thus offered are called the pindams.
- Daanam - Strictly meaning Charity, Daanam refers to the procedure of donating things to the Brahmins in the name of our ancestors. There is a long list of things that need to be given, starting from simple things like umbrellas, fans, and mats to more expensive things made of silver and gold. Among the more auspicious ones is the donation of a cow (Godaanam) and land, both of which are usually done in symbolic terms. Poorvanga and Uttaranga Daanam refer to the things needed to be given at the beginning and end of the rituals respectively, while Dasa Daanam refers to a set of 10 things that need to be donate.