This year in the Vikruthinama Samvatsara, Mahalaya Amavasya falls on October 7th 2010. Mahalaya Paksha is a fortnight for ancestral worship. Mahalaya Paksha precedes Mahalaya Amavasya.The pitru tarpana given during this time is a way of showing gratitude to your departed ancestors.
I am not sure about what actually is done; because in our Madhwa community women are not allowed to even enter the room. Attached below is a link which may be helpful.