Pitrus are our ancestors who have deceased.And "Tarpanam" means "to satiate". Pitru Tarpanam is done to please our deceased ancestors with offerings of black sesame seeds mixed with water.

It can be done yearly in the Pitru Paksha,monthly on each Amavasya Tithi(also known as the Pitru Tithi) or even daily.

Question-Usually done by sons of the family can it also be done by women of the family?Can women perform Shraddha or Pitru Tarpanam?

As per moonstar2001 No, they can't .

No @Rickross, they are not(allowed to do tarpanam). The only place they are allowed to do so is matru gaya, according to scholars.

As per Agasthiar.org ,Yes they can.

Can women do tharpanam? The answer is YES. Sathguru Venkataraman gave us the revolutionary idea (in the 1980s) that women can do pitru tharpanam just as well as men. Think of this key point: If there are no sons in a family, does that mean the ancestors should be starved of tharpanam? The answer is NO. The daughters can certainly do tharpanam. For a man who had daughters but no sons, will anyone do tharpanam with more mental involvement and dedication than his own daughters? NO. So these daughters can certainly do tharpanam for this (departed) man. Note further that if others do tharpanam for this (departed) man, it will be karunya tharpanam and not pitru tharpanam. Whereas, if his daughters do it, it will be direct, full fledged pitru tharpanam.However there is a condition viz :Women should use white sesame seeds in their tharpanam.

As per Sanatan.org Yes they can.:

Son (including the one whose threading ceremony has not been done), daughter, grandson, great grandson, wife, daughter’s son (if he is one of the heirs), real brother, nephew, cousin’s son, father, mother, daughter-in-law, son of elder and younger sisters, maternal uncle, anyone in the seven generations and from the same lineage (sapinda), anyone after the seven generations and belonging to the same family domain (samanodak), disciple, priests (upadhyay), friend, son-in-law of the deceased person can perform Shraddha in that order.However,The woman performing shraddha should place a clean cotton cloth on her shoulder while performing ‘Savya-Apasavya’

As per this PDF too,women are allowed to do Tarpanam.:

Facing south, Yagnopavit in Upsvena position (women should keep hair lock on left shoulder), left knee touching ground, right knee up, pavitri removed from anamika finger, one should hold tight two pieces of darbha, bent in the middle, by thumb and side of palm.

  • 3
    Recently during Krishna Pushkarams, i have seen many women doing Pitru tarpanam. I think women can do it. But we may need Scriptural evidence to uphold this.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:03
  • 1
    What is the alternate for Yagnopaveedam for women in this subject? Now and then in the tarpanam, yagnopaveedam's direction should be changed to pracheenaveedam [during tarpanam ] and upaveedam [during sankalpam]. Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 6:05
  • tired of puranic reference for vedic karmas ... Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 6:10
  • @RakeshJoshi For me reference from Puranas is good enough..Because i believe for the most part all Shastras (including the Puranas) are Veda Mulak.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 6:45
  • @ParthasarathyRaghavan It will be an Uttariya or any other cloth like that..a towel can also do the job..
    – Rickross
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 6:24

1 Answer 1


Yes, they are allowed to do.

Garuḍa Purāṇam, Preta Kalpa Chapter Eight says (Source 1 and Source 2)

गरुड उवाच -

स्वामिन्कस्याधिकारोऽत्र सर्व एवौर्ध्वदेहिके । क्रियाः कतिविधाः प्रोक्ता वदैतत्सर्वमेव मे ॥ १ ॥

garuḍa uvāca -

svāminkasyādhikāro'tra sarva evaurdhvadehike । kriyāḥ katividhāḥ proktā vadaitatsarvameva me ॥ 1 ॥

Garuda said -

O Lord, now tell me who are authorized to perform obsequies and what are the methods of performance prescribed in the śāstras.

श्रीकृष्ण उवाच -

पुत्रः पौत्रः प्रपौत्रो वा तद्भ्राता भ्रातृसन्ततिः । सपिण्डसन्ततिर्वापि क्रियार्हाः खग ज्ञातय ॥ २ ॥

śrīkṛṣṇa uvāca -

putraḥ pautraḥ prapautro vā tadbhrātā bhrātṛsantatiḥ । sapiṇḍasantatirvāpi kriyārhāḥ khaga jñātaya ॥ 2 ॥

Sri Krishna (The Lord) said -

Son, Grandson, Great grandson, his brother and brother's progeny, so also sapiṇḍa progeny - all these are authorized to perform the obsequies.

तेषामभावे सर्वेषां समानोदकसन्ततिः । कुलद्वयेऽपि चोच्छिन्ने स्त्रीभिः कार्याः क्रियाः खग ॥ ३ ॥

teṣāmabhāve sarveṣāṃ samānodakasantatiḥ । kuladvaye'pi cocchinne strībhiḥ kāryāḥ kriyāḥ khaga ॥ 3 ॥

In their absence, samānodaka progeny can perform the rite. If both the families are maleless the women should perform the obsequies.

इच्छयोच्छिन्नबन्धश्च कारयेदवनीपतिः । पूर्वाः क्रिया मध्यमाश्च तथा चैवोत्तराः क्रियाः ॥ ४ ॥

icchayocchinnabandhaśca kārayedavanīpatiḥ । pūrvāḥ kriyā madhyamāśca tathā caivottarāḥ kriyāḥ ॥ 4 ॥

In the absence any family or relative, the king may perform all the rites - the preliminary, the middling and the final.

Also, the Garuḍa Purāṇam Sāroddhāra (Essence of Garuḍa Purāṇam, considered equivalent to Garuḍa Purāṇam and recited widely) in its Chapter 11 (śloka 18) says

स्त्री वाऽथ पुरुषः कश्चिदिष्टस्य कुरुते क्रियाम् । अनाथप्रेतसंस्कारात्कोटियज्ञफमं लभेत् ॥

strī vā'tha puruṣaḥ kaścidiṣṭasya kurute kriyām । anāthapretasaṃskārātkoṭiyajñaphalaṃ labhet

A woman or man who performs the rites for anātha preta (unknown person or friend) obtains the fruit of performing a crore (or unlimited) sacrifices (yajña). This (Regarding Anātha Preta rites) is also said in Garuḍa Purāṇam, Preta Kalpa Chapter Thirty Eight (śloka 40) as अनाथप्रेतसंस्कारः कोटियज्ञफलप्रदः

Hope this helps you.

  • what mantras do they chant ?Vedic ? Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 12:15

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