Significance of Varanasi to the ritual of Pind Daan:
It is generally believed that the river Ganges, or Ganga, is holy in its origin, and possesses in itself the power to wash away mortal sin. According to Hindu mythology, the geological oddity that is found in the directional flow of the river, which is perennial exclusively in Kashi, part of modern day Varanasi, can be explained by an account which reiterates a confrontation between Lord Shiva and the mighty river. According to the narrative, the force of the holy river was violently intense as it neared the divine city of Kashi, thus compelling Lord Shiva to strike his trident, or the Trishul, into its path, effectively slowing it just as it crossed over the periphery of the city.
It is believed that a person who dies in Kashi attains salvation, or Moksha, and is freed from the cycle of rebirth. Even if one dies elsewhere, as long as the last rites are performed here, it is said one is granted salvation. Failing this, the least effort required to ensure this end is the immersion of the last remains of the departed in the holy Ganges, even if the last rites were carried out elsewhere. There are several locations assigned for the performance of the Pind Daan practice, such as Dasaswamedh, Panchganga, Varuna, Manikarnika, and Assi.
One of the most prominent places for the performance of Pind Daan in Varanasi is Pisachmochan Talab, or Vimal Teerth. According to the lore, the site draws its divinity from an incident which took place in ancient times. A demon, or Pishach, appeared before Valmiki, who lived in the area. The demon confessed to a sinful life he had led on the banks of the holy Godavari. This had resulted in his condemnation to the Pishach Yoni, and he sought repentance. Following Valkmiki’s advice, which involved prayer and procession in the Vimal Kund, the Pishach attained Mukti. Since then, the water body came to be known as Pishachmochan Kund, or Pishachmochan Talab, and has held special significance for the salvation of the dead.