Hindu calendar

Hindu calendar is a collective term for the various lunisolar calendars traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent. They adopt a similar underlying concept for timekeeping, but differ in their relative emphasis to moon cycle or the sun cycle and the names of months and when they consider the New Year to start.[1] Of the various regional calendars, the most studied and known Hindu calendars are the Shalivahana Shaka found in South India, Vikram Samvat (Bikrami) found in North and Central regions of India, Tamil calendar used in Tamil Nadu, and the Bengali calendar used in the Bengal – all of which emphasize the lunar cycle. Their new year starts in spring, with their heritage dating back to 1st millennium BCE. In contrast, in regions such as Kerala, the solar cycle is emphasized and this is called the Malayalam calendar, their new year starts in autumn, and these have origins in the second half of the 1st millennium CE.[1][2] A Hindu calendar is sometimes referred to as Panchanga (पञ्चाङ्ग).[3]

The ancient Hindu calendar is similar in conceptual design to the Jewish calendar, but different from the Gregorian calendar.[4] Unlike Gregorian calendar which adds additional days to lunar month to adjust for the mismatch between twelve lunar cycles (354 lunar days)[5] and nearly 365 solar days, the Hindu calendar maintains the integrity of the lunar month, but insert an extra full month by complex rules, every few years, to ensure that the festivals and crop-related rituals fall in the appropriate season.[4][2]

The Hindu calendars have been in use in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times, and remains in use by the Hindus in India and Nepal particularly to set the Hindu festival dates such as Holi, Maha Shivaratri, Vaisakhi, Raksha Bandhan, Pongal, Onam, Krishna Janmashtami, Durga Puja, Ram Navami, Pana Sankranti, Vishu and Diwali. Early Buddhist communities of India adopted the ancient Indian calendar, later Vikrami calendar and then local Buddhist calendars. Buddhist festivals continue to be scheduled according to a lunar system.[6] The Buddhist calendar and the traditional lunisolar calendars of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand are also based on an older version of the Hindu calendar. Similarly, the ancient Jain traditions have followed the same lunisolar system as the Hindu calendar for festivals, texts and inscriptions. However, the Buddhist and Jaina timekeeping systems have attempted to use the Buddha and the Mahavira's lifetimes as their reference points.[7][8][9]

The Hindu calendar is also important to the practice of Hindu astrology and zodiac system, most of which it adopted from Greece, in centuries after the arrival of Alexander the Great.[1][10] The Indian national calendar or "Saka calendar" was redesigned in an effort that started in 1952 based on the traditional Hindu calendars, and it was adopted on March 22, 1957.[11]

Hindu calendar 1871-72
A page from the Hindu calendar 1871-72


Time keeping was important to Vedic rituals, and Jyotisha was the Vedic era field of tracking and predicting the movements of astronomical bodies in order to keep time, in order to fix the day and time of these rituals.[13][14][15] This study was one of the six ancient Vedangas, or ancillary science connected with the Vedas – the scriptures of Hinduism.[13][14] The ancient Indian culture developed a sophisticated time keeping methodology and calendars for Vedic rituals.[16]

David Pingree has proposed that the field of timekeeping in Jyotisha may have been "derived from Mesopotamia during the Achaemenid period",[17] but Yukio Ohashi considers this proposal as "definitely wrong".[18] Ohashi states that this Vedanga field developed from actual astronomical studies in ancient India.[19] The texts of Vedic Jyotisha sciences were translated into the Chinese language in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, and the Rigvedic passages on astronomy are found in the works of Zhu Jiangyan and Zhi Qian.[20]

Timekeeping as well as the nature of solar and moon movements are mentioned in Vedic texts.[21] For example, Kaushitaki Brahmana chapter 19.3 mentions the shift in the relative location of the sun towards north for 6 months, and south for 6 months.[22][23]

The Vikrami calendar is named after king Vikramaditya and starts in 57 BCE.[24]


Sanathana Dharma (Hindu) scholars kept precise time by observing and calculating the cycles of (Surya) i.e. the sun, moon and the planets. These calculations about the sun appear in various astronomical texts in Sanskrit, such as the 5th-century Aryabhatiya by Aryabhata, the 6th-century Romaka by Latadeva and Panca Siddhantika by Varahamihira, the 7th-century Khandakhadyaka by Brahmagupta and the 8th-century Sisyadhivrddida by Lalla.[25] These texts present Surya and various planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion.[25] Other texts such as Surya Siddhanta dated to have been completed sometime between the 5th century and 10th century present their chapters on various deified planets with stories behind them.[25]

The manuscripts of these texts exist in slightly different versions. They present Surya, planet-based calculations and Surya's relative motion to earth. These vary in their data, suggesting that the text were open and revised over their lives.[26][27][28] For example, the 1st millennium CE Sanathana Dharma (Hindu) scholars calculated the sidereal length of a year as follows, from their astronomical studies, with slightly different results:[29]

Smskrth (Sanskrit) texts: How many days in a year?
Hindu text Estimated length of the sidereal year[29]
Surya Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 36.56 seconds
Paulica Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 36 seconds
Paracara Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 31.50 seconds
Arya Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 30.84 seconds
Laghu Arya Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 30 seconds
Siddhanta Shiromani 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 9 seconds

The Hindu texts used the lunar cycle for setting months and days, but the solar cycle to set the complete year. This system is similar to the Jewish and Babylonian ancient calendars, creating the same challenge of accounting for mismatch between the nearly 354 lunar days in twelve months, versus nearly 365 solar days in a year.[4][30] They tracked the solar year by observing the entrance and departure of surya (sun, at sunrise and sunset) in the constellation formed by stars in the sky, which they divided into 12 intervals of 30 degrees each.[31] Like other ancient human cultures, Hindus innovated a number of systems of which intercalary months became most used, that is adding another month every 32.5 months on average.[30] As their calendar keeping and astronomical observations became more sophisticated, the Hindu calendar became more sophisticated with complex rules and greater accuracy.[30][32][31]

According to Scott Montgomery, the siddhanta tradition at the foundation of Hindu calendars predate the Christian era, once had 18 texts of which only 5 have survived into the modern era.[30] These texts provide specific information and formulae on motions of sun, moon and planets, to predict their future relative positions, equinoxes, rise and set, with corrections for prograde, retrograde motions, as well as parallax. These ancient scholars attempted to calculate their time to the accuracy of a truti (29.63 microseconds). In their pursuit of accurate tracking of relative movements of celestial bodies for their calendar, they had computed the diameter of earth, which was very close to the actual 7,918 miles.[30][31]

Hindu calendars were refined during the Gupta era astronomy by Āryabhaṭa and Varāhamihira in the 5th to 6th century. These in turn were based in the astronomical tradition of Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa, which in the preceding centuries had been standardised in a number of (non-extant) works known as Sūrya Siddhānta. Regional diversification took place in the medieval period. The astronomical foundations were further developed in the medieval period, notably by Bhāskara II (12th century).


Later, the term Jyotisha evolved to include Hindu astrology. The astrological application of the Hindu calendar was a field that likely developed in the centuries after the arrival of Greek astrology with Alexander the Great,[19][33][34] because their zodiac signs are nearly identical.[14]

The ancient Hindu texts on Jyotisha only discuss time keeping, and never mention astrology or prophecy.[35] These ancient texts predominantly cover astronomy, but at a rudimentary level.[15] Technical horoscopes and astrology ideas in India came from Greece, states European specialist Nicholas Campion, and developed in the early centuries of the 1st millennium CE.[10] Later medieval era texts such as the Yavana-jataka and the Siddhanta texts are more astrology-related.[36]

Balinese Hindu calendar

Hinduism and Buddhism were the prominent religions of southeast Asia in the 1st millennium CE, prior to the Islamic conquest that started in the 14th century. The Hindus prevailed in Bali, Indonesia and they have two types of Hindu calendar. One is a 210-day based Pawukon calendar which likely is a pre-Hindu system, and another is similar to lunisolar calendar system found in South India and it is called the Balinese saka calendar which uses Hindu methodology.[37] The names of month and festivals of Balinese Hindus for the most part are different, though the significance and legends have some overlap.[37]

Year: Samvat

Samvat refers to era of the several Hindu calendar systems in India and Nepal, in a manner that the consecutive years 1 BC and AD 1 mark the Christian era and the BC/AD system. There are several samvat found in historic Buddhist, Hindu and Jaina texts and epigraphy, of which three are most significant: Vikrama era, Old Shaka era and Shaka era of 78 AD.[38]

The Hindu calendar saka samvat system is found in Indonesian inscriptions, such as the above dated to 611 CE.[39][40]
  • Vikram Samvat: A northern India almanac which started in 57 BCE, and is also called the Vikrama Era. It is related to the Bikrami calendar, and is linked to Vikramaditya. This system is common in epigraphic evidence from northern, western, central and eastern Indian subcontinent, particularly after the early centuries of the 1st millennium CE.[38]
  • Shaka Samvat: There are two Shaka era system in scholarly use, one is called Old Shaka Era, whose epoch is uncertain, probably sometime in the 1st millennium BCE because ancient Buddhist, Jaina and Hindu inscriptions and texts use it. However, the starting point of Old Shaka Era is a subject of dispute among scholars. The second system is called Saka Era of 78 AD, or simply Saka Era, a system that is common in epigraphic evidence from southern India.[38]
  • Saka era of Southeast Asia: The Hindu calendar system in Indonesia is attributed to the legend of Hindus arriving with a sage Aji Saka in the 1st century Java, in the March of 78 CE.[41][42] Numerous ancient and medieval era texts and inscriptions found in Indonesian islands use this reference year.[43][44] In mainland southeast Asia, the earliest verifiable use of Hindu Saka methodology in inscriptions is marked Saka 533 in Ankor Borei, which corresponds to 611 CE, while in the Indonesian islands, the Kedukan Bukti inscription in Sumatra, marked to Saka 605 (683 CE) is one of the earliest known.[44] However, these inscriptions set the floruit, and the Hindu calendaring methodology likely existed in southeast Asia before these dates to be used in important monuments. Further, the Hindu calendar system remained popular among the Hindus through about the 15th century, and thereafter in Bali Indonesia.[44]
  • Indian national calendar (modern): combined many Hindu calendars into one official standardized one, but old ones remain in use.[11]


The astronomical basis of the Hindu lunar day. Also illustrates Kshaya Tithi (Vaishaka-Krishna-Chaturdashi (i.e. 14th)) and Adhika Tithi (Jyeshta- Shukla-Dashami(i.e. 10th))

Amanta, Purnimanta systems

Two traditions have been followed in the Indian subcontinent with respect to lunar months: Amanta tradition which ends the lunar month on no moon day, while Purnimanta tradition which ends it on full moon day.[45][46]

Amavasyant (Amanta, Mukhyamana) tradition is followed by all Indian states that have a peninsular coastline (except Odisha), as well as Assam and Tripura. Odisha and all other states follow the Purnimanta (Gaunamana) tradition.[45]

Purnimanta tradition was being followed in the Vedic era. It was replaced with Amanta system and in use as the Hindu calendar system prior to 1st century BCE, but the Purnimanta tradition was restarted in 57 BCE by Vikramaditya who wanted to return to the Vedic roots.[46] The presence of this system is one of the factors considered in dating ancient manuscripts and epigraphical evidence of India that have survived into the modern era.[46][47]


A month contains two fortnights called pakṣa (पक्ष, literally "side").[2] One fortnight is the bright, waxing half where the moon size grows and it ends in the full moon. This is called Shukla Paksha.[48] The other half is the darkening, waning fortnight which ends in the new moon.[2] The Hindu festivals typically are either on or the day after the full moon night, or the darkest night (amavasya, अमावास्या), except for some associated with Krishna, Durga or Rama. The lunar months of the hot summer and the busy major cropping-related part of the monsoon season typically do not schedule major festivals.[49]

A combination of the Paksha system, and the two traditions of Amanta and Purnimanta systems, has led to alternate ways of dating any festival or event in the historic Hindu, Buddhist or Jain literature, and contemporary regional literature or festival calendars. For example, the Hindu festival of colors called Holi falls on the first day (full moon) of Chaitra lunar month's dark fortnight in the Purnimanta system, while the same exact day for Holi is expressed in Amanta system as the Purnima (full moon) lunar day of Phalguna.[32] Both time measuring and dating systems are equivalent ways of meaning the same thing, they continue to be in use in different regions, though the Purnimanta system is now typically assumed as implied in modern Indology literature if not specified.[32][31]

Month names

There are 12 months in Hindu lunar calendar (Sanskrit: मासाः). If the transits of the Sun through various constellations (Rāśi) are used, then we get solar months, which do not shift with reference to the Gregorian calendar. In practice, solar months are mostly referred as Rāśi (not months). The solar months (Rāśi) along with the corresponding Hindu seasons and Gregorian months are:[31]

Rāśi Vikrami
lunar months[32]
Ṛtu in Devanagari script Bengali name for Ṛtu Kannada name for Ṛtu Malayalam name for Ṛtu Odia name for Ṛtu Tamil name for Ṛtu Telugu name for Ṛtu Gujarati name for Ṛtu
Meṣa Vaisakha Apr-May Grīṣma


ग्रीष्म গ্রীষ্ম (Grishsho) ಗ್ರೀಷ್ಮ ಋತು (Grīṣma Ṛtu) ഗ്രീഷ്മം (Grīṣmam) ଗ୍ରୀଷ୍ମ (Griṣma) இளவேனில் (ilavenil) గ్రీష్మ ఋతువు (Grīṣma Ṛtuvu) ગ્રીષ્મ ઋતુ (Grīṣma Ṛtuvu)
Vṛṣabha Jyeshtha May–June
Mithuna Ashadha June–July Varṣā


वर्षा বর্ষা (Bôrsha) ವರ್ಷ ಋತು (Varṣa Ṛtu) വര്‍ഷം‌ (Varṣām) ବର୍ଷା (Barṣā) முதுவேனில் (mudhuvenil) వర్ష ఋతువు (Varṣa Ṛtuvu) વર્ષા ઋતુ (Varṣa Ṛtuvu)
Karkaṭa Shraavana July-Aug
Siṃha Bhadra Aug-Sept Śarad


शरद শরৎ(Shôrôt) ಶರದೃತು (Śaradṛtu) ശരത്‌ (Śarat) ଶରତ (Śarata) கார் (kaar) శరదృతువు (Śaradṛtuvu) શરદ ઋતુ (Śaradṛtuvu)
Kanyā Ashvin Sept-Oct
Tulā Kartik Oct-Nov Hemanta


हेमन्त হেমন্ত (Hemôntô) ಹೇಮಂತ ಋತು (Hēmaṃta Ṛtu) ഹേമന്തം‌ (Hemantam) ହେମନ୍ତ (Hemanta) குளிர் (kulir) హేమంత ఋతువు (Hēmaṃta Ṛtuvu) હેમંત ઋતુ (Hēmaṃta Ṛtuvu)
Vṛścik‌‌‌a Agahana Nov-Dec
Dhanu Pausha Dec-Jan Śiśira


शिशिर শীত (Śeet) ಶಿಶಿರ ಋತು (Śiśira Ṛtu) ശിശിരം‌ (Śiśiram) ଶୀତ/ଶିଶିର (Śīta/Śiśira) முன்பனி (munpani) శిశిర ఋతువు (Śiśira Ṛtuvu) શિશિર ઋતુ (Śiśira Ṛtuvu)
Makara Magha Jan-Feb
Kumbha Phalguna Feb-Mar Vasanta


वसन्त বসন্ত (Bôsôntô) ವಸಂತ ಋತು (Vasaṃta Ṛtu) വസന്തം‌ (Vasaṃtam) ବସନ୍ତ (Basanta) பின்பனி (pinpani) వసంత ఋతువు (Vasaṃta Ṛtuvu) વસંત ઋતુ (Vasaṃta Ṛtuvu)
Mīna Chaitra Mar-Apr

Months and approximate correspondence

The names of the Indian months vary by region. Despite the significant differences between Indo-European languages and Dravidian languages, those Hindu calendars which are based on lunar cycle are generally phonetic variants of each other, while the solar cycle are generally variants of each other too, suggesting that the time keeping knowledge travelled widely across the Indian subcontinent in ancient times.[1][31]

The Tamil lunar month names are forward shifted by a month compared to Vikrami month names, in part because Tamil calendar integrates greater emphasis for the solar cycle in a manner similar to the neighboring Kerala region and it follows the Amanta system for lunar months. This is in contrast to Vikrami calendar which keeps the Purnimanta system and emphasizes the lunar cycle.[50] A few major calendars are summarized below:

Calendar month names in different Hindu calendars[1]
# Vikrami
Assamese Bengali Tamil Odia Vikrami
Kannada/Telugu Gregorian
1 Vaisākha Bohag Boishakh Chithirai Baisakha Mēsha Medam Vaisākha April–May
2 Jyeshta Zeth Jyôisthô Vaigasi Jyestha Vrisha Edavam Jyeshta May–June
3 Āshāda Ahar Ashar Aani Asadha Mithuna Midunam Āshāda June–July
4 Shraavana Xaün Shrabôn Aadi Srabana Karka Karkadakam Shrāvana July–August
5 Bhādra Bhado Bhādrô Aavani Bhadraba Singa Chingam Bhādrapada August–September
6 Ashwina Ahin Ashshin Purataasi Aswina Kanya Kanni Āswayuja September–October
7 Kartika Kati Kartik Aippasi Kartika Tula Tulam Kārtika October–November
8 Mārgasirsa
Aghün Agrohoyon Kartiggai Margasira Vrischika Vrischikam Mārgasira November–December
9 Pausha Puh Poush Margazhi Pousa Dhanus Dhanu Pushya December–January
10 Māgha Magh Magh Thai Magha Makara Makaram Magha January–February
11 Phālguna Phagun Fālgun Maasi Phalguna Kumbha Kumbham Phalguna February–March
12 Chaitra Sót Choitrô Panguni Chaitra Mina Minuam Chaitra March–April

Corrections between lunar and solar months

The astronomical basis of the Hindu lunar months. Also illustrates Adhika Masa (Year 2-Bhadrapada) repeats; the first time the Sun moves entirely within Simha Rashi thus rendering it an Adhika Masa

Twelve Hindu mas (māsa, lunar month) are equal to approximately 354 days, while the length of a sidereal (solar) year is about 365 days. This creates a difference of about eleven days, which is offset every (29.53/10.63) = 2.71 years, or approximately every 32.5 months.[30] The twelve months are subdivided into six lunar seasons timed with the agriculture cycles, blooming of natural flowers, fall of leaves, and weather. To account for the mismatch between lunar and solar calendar, the Hindu scholars adopted intercalary months, where a particular month just repeated. The choice of this month was not random, but timed to sync back the two calendars to the cycle of agriculture and nature.[30][31]

The repetition of a month created the problem of scheduling festivals, weddings and other social events without repetition and confusion. This was resolved by declaring one month as Shudha (pure, clean, regular, proper, also called Deva month) and the other Mala or Adhika (extra, unclean and inauspicious, also called Asura masa).[51]

The Indian mathematicians who calculated the best way to adjust the two years, over long periods of a yuga (era, tables calculating 1000 of years), they determined that the best means to intercalate the months is to time the intercalary months on a 19-year cycle. This intercalation is generally adopted in the 3rd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 16th and 19th year of this cycle. Further, the complex rules rule out the repetition of Mārgasirsa (also called Agahana), Pausha and Maagha lunar months. The historic Hindu texts are not consistent on these rules, with competing ideas flourishing in the Hindu culture.[52]

Rare corrections

The Hindu calendar makes further rare adjustments, over a cycle of centuries, where a certain month is considered kshaya month (dropped). This occurs because of the complexity of the relative lunar, solar and earth movements. According to the Hindu calendar theory, states uriel Marion Underhill, "when the sun is in perigee, and a lunar month being at its longest, if the new moon immediately precedes a samkranti, then the first of the two lunar months is deleted (called nija or kshaya). This, for example, happened in the year 1 BCE, when there was no new moon between Makara samkranti and Kumbha samkranti, and the month of Pausha was dropped.[53]


Just like months, the Hindu calendar has two measures of a day, one based on the lunar movement and the other on solar. The solar day or civil day, called divasa ( दिवस), has been what most Hindus traditionally use, is easy and empirical to observe, by poor and rich, with or without a clock, and it is defined as the period from one sunrise to another. The lunar day is called tithi (तिथि), and this is based on complicated measures of lunar movement. A lunar day or tithi may, for example, begin in the middle of an afternoon and end next afternoon.[54] Both these days do not directly correspond to a mathematical measure for a day such as equal 24 hours of a solar year, a fact that the Hindu calendar scholars knew, but the system of divasa was convenient for the general population. The tithi have been the basis for timing rituals and festivals, while divasa for everyday use. The Hindu calendars adjust the mismatch in divasa and tithi, using a methodology similar to the solar and lunar months.[55]

A Tithi is technically defined in Indian texts, states John E. Cort, as "the time required by the combined motions of the sun and moon to increase (in a bright fortnight) or decrease (in a dark fortnight) their relative distance by twelve degrees of the zodiac.[56] These motions are measured using a fixed map of celestial zodiac as reference, and given the elliptical orbits, a duration of a tithi varies between 21.5 and 26 hours, states Cort.[56] However, in the Indian tradition, the general population's practice has been to treat a tithi as a solar day between one sunrise to next.[56]

A lunar month has 30 tithi. The technical standard makes each tithi contain different number of hours, but helps the overall integrity of the calendar. Given the variation in the length of a solar day with seasons, and moon's relative movements, the start and end time for tithi varies over the seasons and over the years, and the tithi adjusted to sync with divasa periodically with intercalation.[57]


Vāsara refers to the weekdays in Sanskrit.[58] Also referred to as Vara and used as a suffix.[11] The correspondence between the names of the week in Hindu and other Indo-European calendars are exact. This alignment of names probably took place sometime during the 3rd century CE.[59][60] The weekday of a Hindu calendar has been symmetrically divided into 60 ghatika (= 24 hours), each ghatika is divided into 60 pala (= 24 minutes), each pala is subdivided into 60 vipala (= 24 seconds), and so on.[59]

Names of the weekdays in regional languages
No. Sanskrit[59][60] Latin weekday Celestial object Nepali Hindi Bhojpuri Punjabi
(Hindus and Sikhs)[note 1]
Bengali Assamese Marathi Odia Kannada Telugu Tamil Malayalam Gujarati Kashmiri
1 Ravivāsara
रविवासर or
Aditya vāsara
आदित्य वासर
Sunday/dies Solis Ravi, Aditya = Sun Aaitabar
आथु'वार اَتھ وار
2 Somavāsara
Monday/dies Lunae Soma (deity), Chandra = Moon Sombar
च़'न्दु'रवार ژندر وار
3 Maṅgalavāsara
मंगलवासर or
भौम वासर
Tuesday/dies Martis Maṅgala = Mars Mangalbar
बोमवार پم وار
4 Budhavāsara
बुधवासर or
Saumya vasara
सौम्य वासर
Wednesday/dies Mercurii Budha = Mercury Budhabar
बॅदवार برھ وار
5 Guruvāsara
Brhaspati vāsara
Thursday/dies Iovis/Jupiter Deva-Guru Bṛhaspati = Jupiter Bihibar
गुरुवार or
Guruvāraṁ, Br̥haspativāraṁ
గురువారం, బృహస్పతివారం, లక్ష్మీవారం
ब्रसवार برس وار
6 Śukravāsara
Friday/dies Veneris Śukra = Venus Sukrabar
शो'कु'रवार شۆکٕروار
7 Śanivāsara
Saturday/dies Saturnis Śani = Saturn Sanibar
बटु'वार بٹ وار
  1. ^ Punjabi Muslims use Urdu/Arabic words for Friday / Saturday etc.[61]

The term -vāsara is often realised as vāra or vaar in Sanskrit-derived and influenced languages. There are many variations of the names in the regional languages, mostly using alternate names of the celestial bodies involved.

Five limbs of time

The complete Indian calendars contain five angas or parts of information: lunar day (tithi), solar day (diwas), asterism (naksatra), planetary joining (yoga) and astronomical period (karanam). This structure gives the calendar the name Panchangam.[11] The first two are discussed above.


The Sanskrit word Yoga means "union, joining, attachment", but in astronomical context, this word means latitudinal and longitudinal information. The longitude of the sun and the longitude of the moon are added, and normalised to a value ranging between 0° to 360° (if greater than 360, one subtracts 360). This sum is divided into 27 parts. Each part will now equal 800' (where ' is the symbol of the arcminute which means 1/60 of a degree). These parts are called the yogas. They are labelled:

  1. Viṣkambha
  2. Prīti
  3. Āyuśmān
  4. Saubhāgya
  5. Śobhana
  6. Atigaṇḍa
  7. Sukarma
  8. Dhṛti
  9. Śūla
  10. Gaṇḍa
  11. Vṛddhi
  12. Dhruva
  13. Vyāghatā
  14. Harṣaṇa
  15. Vajra
  16. Siddhi
  17. Vyatipāta
  18. Variyas
  19. Parigha
  20. Śiva
  21. Siddha
  22. Sādhya
  23. Śubha
  24. Śukla
  25. Brahma
  26. Māhendra
  27. Vaidhṛti

Again, minor variations may exist. The yoga that is active during sunrise of a day is the prevailing yoga for the day.


A karaṇa is half of a tithi. To be precise, a karaṇa is the time required for the angular distance between the sun and the moon to increase in steps of 6° starting from 0°. (Compare with the definition of a tithi.)

Since the tithis are 30 in number, and since 1 tithi = 2 karaṇas, therefore one would logically expect there to be 60 karaṇas. But there are only 11 such karaṇas which fill up those slots to accommodate for those 30 tithis. There are actually 4 "fixed" (sthira) karaṇas and 7 "repeating" (cara) karaṇas.

The 4

  1. Śakuni (शकुनि)
  2. Catuṣpāda (चतुष्पाद)
  3. Nāga (नाग)
  4. Kiṃstughna (किंस्तुघ्न)

The 7 "repeating" karaṇas are:[62]

  1. Vava or Bava (बव)
  2. Valava or Bālava (बालव)
  3. Kaulava (कौलव)
  4. Taitila or Taitula (तैतिल)
  5. Gara or Garaja (गरज)
  6. Vaṇija (वणिज)
  7. Viṣṭi (Bhadra) (भद्रा)
  • Now the first half of the 1st tithi (of Śukla Pakṣa) is always Kiṃtughna karaṇa. Hence this karaṇa' is "fixed".
  • Next, the 7-repeating karaṇas repeat eight times to cover the next 56 half-tithis. Thus these are the "repeating" (cara) karaṇas.
  • The 3 remaining half-tithis take the remaining "fixed" karaṇas in order. Thus these are also "fixed" (sthira).
  • Thus one gets 60 karaṇas from those 11 preset karaṇas.

The Vedic day begins at sunrise. The karaṇa at sunrise of a particular day shall be the prevailing karaṇa for the whole day.


Nakshatras are divisions of ecliptic, each 13° 20', starting from 0° Aries. The purnima of each month is synchronised with a nakshatra.

Festival calendar: solar and lunar dates

Many holidays in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina traditions are based on the lunar cycles in the lunisolar timekeeping with foundations in the Hindu calendar system. A few holidays, however, are based on the solar cycle, such as the Vaisakhi, Pongal and those associated with Sankranti.[63] The dates of the lunar cycle based festivals vary significantly on the Gregorian calendar and sometimes as much as weeks. The solar cycle based ancient Indian festivals almost always fall on the same Gregorian date every year and if they vary in an exceptional year, it is by one day.[64]

Regional variants

The Indian Calendar Reform Committee, appointed in 1952, identified more than thirty well-developed calendars, in use across different parts of India.[11]

Variants include the lunar emphasizing Vikrama, the Shalivahana calendars, as well as the solar emphasizing Tamil calendar and Malayalam calendar. The two calendars most widely used today are the Vikrama calendar, which is in followed in western and northern India as well as Nepal, and the Shalivahana Shaka calendar which is followed in the Deccan region of India (Comprising present day Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Goa).[65]

See also


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  3. ^ Klaus K. Klostermaier (2007). A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition. State University of New York Press. p. 490. ISBN 978-0-7914-7082-4.
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  7. ^ Jeffery D Long (2013). Jainism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-85771-392-6.
  8. ^ John E. Cort (2001). Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India. Oxford University Press. pp. 142–146. ISBN 978-0-19-513234-2.
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  10. ^ a b Nicholas Campion (2012). Astrology and Cosmology in the World’s Religions. New York University Press. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-0-8147-0842-2.
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  63. ^ Peter J. Claus; Sarah Diamond; Margaret Ann Mills (2003). South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Taylor & Francis. pp. 91–93. ISBN 978-0-415-93919-5.
  64. ^ Robert Sewell; Śaṅkara Bālakr̥shṇa Dīkshita (1896). The Indian Calendar: With Tables for the Conversion of Hindu and Muhammadan Into A.D. Dates, and Vice Versa. S. Sonnenschein. pp. 9–12.
  65. ^ Muriel Marion Underhill (1921). The Hindu Religious Year. Association Press. p. 15.


  • Kim Plofker (2009). Mathematics in India. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-12067-6.
  • Pingree, David (1973). "The Mesopotamian Origin of Early Indian Mathematical Astronomy". Journal for the History of Astronomy. SAGE. 4 (1). Bibcode:1973JHA.....4....1P. doi:10.1177/002182867300400102.
  • Pingree, David (1981). Jyotihśāstra : Astral and Mathematical Literature. Otto Harrassowitz. ISBN 978-3447021654.
  • Yukio Ohashi (1999). Johannes Andersen, ed. Highlights of Astronomy, Volume 11B. Springer Science. ISBN 978-0-7923-5556-4.
  • Yukio Ohashi (1993). "Development of Astronomical Observations in Vedic and post-Vedic India". Indian Journal of History of Science. 28 (3).
  • Maurice Winternitz (1963). History of Indian Literature, Volume 1. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0056-4.

Further reading

  • Reingold and Dershowitz, Calendrical Calculations, Millennium Edition, Cambridge University Press, latest 2nd edition 3rd printing released November 2004. ISBN 0-521-77752-6
  • S. Balachandra Rao, Indian Astronomy: An Introduction, Universities Press, Hyderabad, 2000.
  • Rai Bahadur Pandit Gaurishankar Hirachand Ojha, The Paleography of India, 2 ed., Ajmer, 1918, reprinted Manshuram Manoharlal publishers, 1993.

External links


Amāvásyā (Sanskrit: अमावस्या) means the lunar phase of the New moon. The word Amāvásyā is common to almost all Nepalese and Indian languages as most of them are derived from Sanskrit. Ancient Babylonian, Greek and Indian calendars used 30 lunar phases, called tithi in India. The dark moon tithi is when the Moon is within the 12 degrees of angular distance between the Sun and Moon before conjunction (syzygy). The New Moon tithi (called Pratipada or Prathama) is the 12 angular degrees after syzygy. Amāvásyā is often translated as new moon since there is no standard term for the Moon before conjunction in English.

The dates for 2019 are 6 January, 4 February, 6 March, 5 April, 4 May, 3 June, 2 July, 1 August, 30 August, 28 September, 28 October, 26 November and 26 December.


Ashwin or Ashvin (; Nepali: आश्विन , असोज, Bengali: আশ্বিন; Hindi: अश्विन; Malay/Indonesian: Aswin; Thai: Asawin), also known as Aswayuja, is the seventh month of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, the Vikram Samvat, which is the official solar calendar of Nepal and the parts of India. It is the sixth month in the solar Bengali calendar and seventh in the lunar Indian national calendar of the Deccan Plateau. It falls in the season of Shôrot, (Hindi Sharad) or Autumn. In Vedic Jyotish, Ashwin begins with the Sun's enter in Virgo.

It overlaps September and October of the Gregorian calendar and is the month preceding Diwali or Tihar the festival of lights. In lunar religious calendars, Ashwin begins on the new moon after the autumn equinox.

Bhadra (Hindu calendar)

Bhadra or Bhadrapada or Bhaado or Bhadraba (Hindi: भादों bhaado; Sanskrit: भाद्रपद bhaadrapada; Nepali: भाद्र Bhadra; Odia: ଭାଦ୍ରବ Bhadraba) is a month of the Hindu calendar that corresponds to August/September in the Gregorian calendar. In India's national civil calendar (Shaka calendar), Bhadra is the sixth month of the year, beginning on 17 August and ending on 16 September. In Vedic Jyotish, Bhadra begins with the Sun's entry into Leo, and is usually the month of the year. In Nepal's Bikram Sambat, Bhadra is the fifth month.

In lunar religious calendars, Bhadra begins on the new moon in August/September and is the sixth month of the year. The festival of Ganesha Chaturthi, celebrating the birthday of Ganesha, is observed from the 4-10 Bhadrapada in the bright fortnight and is the main holiday of the year in Maharashtra. Per Shaka calendar, the dark fortnight of Bhadrapada is reserved for the veneration of the dead. This period is known as Pitru Paksha.

In the Vaishnava calendar, Hrishikesh governs this month.

The Goddess Radha was born on the eighth day of this month. Vaishnavas and some Shivites fast during the whole month of "Purattasi" in Tamil Nadu and visit Vaishnav temples on Saturday.


Chaitra is a month of the Hindu calendar.

In the standard Hindu calendar and India's national civil calendar, Chaitra is the first month of the year. It is the last month in the Bengali calendar, where it is called Choitro. Chaitra or Chait is also the last month in the Nepali calendar (the Vikram Samvat), where it commences in mid-March. Chithirai is the first month in the Tamil calendar. In Sindhi calendar, this month is referred to as Chet and is marked by celebration of the Cheti Chand (birth of Jhulelal, an incarnation of Vishnu). In the Vaishnava calendar, Vishnu governs this month.

In the more traditional reckoning, the first month commences in March or April of the Gregorian Calendar, depending upon whether the Purushottam Maas (extra month for alignment of lunar or solar calendar) was observed in the year. There is no fixed date in Gregorian calendar for 1st day of Chaitra, i.e., the beginning of the Hindu New Year.


In the Hindu calendar, Chaturdashi is the 14th day (Tithi) of the waxing phase or waning phase of the moon. This is the day prior to new moon (Amavasya) or full moon (Pournami). It has a great significance to Bengalis, as goddess Tara appeared to rishi vasistha on this tithi.


Dakshinayana (Sanskrit: दक्षिणायण) is the six-month period between Summer solstice and Winter solstice, when the sun travels towards the south on the celestial sphere. Dakshinayana begins on Karka Sankranti or July 16, as it marks the transition of the Sun into Karka rashi (Cancer).

It marks the end of the six-month Uttarayana period of Hindu calendar and the beginning of Dakshinayana, which itself ends at Makar Sankranti and the Uttarayan period begins.According to the Puranas, Dakshinayana marks the period when the gods and goddesses are in their celestial sleep.


Dashami is the Sanskrit word for "ten", and is the tenth day in the lunar fortnight (Paksha) of the Hindu calendar. Each month has two Dashami days, being the tenth day of the "bright" (Shukla) and of the "dark" (Krishna) fortnights respectively. Thus Dashami occurs on the tenth and the twenty-fifth day of each month.


Ekādaśī (ekāhdaśī, "Eleven"), also spelled as Ekādaśi, is the eleventh lunar day (tithi) of each of the two lunar phases which occur in a Hindu calendar month - the Sukla Paksha (the period of the brightening moon also known as the waxing phase) and the Krishna Paksha (the period of the fading moon also known as the waning phase).In Hinduism and Jainism, Ekādaśī is considered a spiritual day and is usually observed by partial fast. Beans and grains are not consumed by observant people during because they are believed to be contaminated by sin. Instead, only fruit, vegetables, and milk products are eaten. This period of abstinence starts from sunrise on the day of Ekādaśī to sunset on the following day.

Hindu rules state that anyone between the ages of eight years and eighty years should fast, including forgoing water. However, people who are sick, have health issues, or are pregnant are exempt from the rule and may consume light food including milk and fruits.The timing of each Ekādaśī is according to the position of the moon. The Hindu calendar marks progression from a full moon to a new moon as divided into fifteen equal arcs. Each arc measures one lunar day, called a tithi. The time it takes the moon to traverse a particular distance is the length of that lunar day. Ekādaśī refers to the 11th tithi, or lunar day. The eleventh tithi corresponds to a precise phase of the waxing and waning moon. In the bright half of the lunar month, the moon will appear roughly 3/4 full on Ekādaśī, and in the dark half of the lunar month, the moon will be about 3/4 dark on Ekādaśī.

There are usually 24 Ekādaśīs in a calendar year. Occasionally, there are two extra Ekādaśīs that happen in a leap year. Each Ekādaśī day is purported to have particular benefits and blessings that are attained by the performance of specific activities.

Bhagavata Purana (sk. IX, adhy. 4) notes the observation of Ekādaśī by Ambarisha, a devotee of Lord Vishnu.

Indian national calendar

The Indian national calendar, sometimes called the Shalivahana Shaka calendar. It is used, alongside the Gregorian calendar, by The Gazette of India, in news broadcasts by All India Radio and in calendars and communications issued by the Government of India. The Saka calendar is also used in Java and Bali among Indonesian Hindus. Nyepi, the "Day of Silence", is a celebration of the Saka new year in Bali. Nepal's Nepal Sambat evolved from the Saka calendar. Prior to colonization, the Philippines used to apply the Saka calendar as well as suggested by the Laguna Copperplate Inscription.

The term may also ambiguously refer to the Hindu calendar; the Shalivahana era is also commonly used by other calendars.

The historic Shalivahana era calendar is still widely used. It has years that are solar

Kartik (month)

Karthikai, Kartika, Karthika or Kartik or Kartika maasam is a Hindu calendar month that typically overlaps October and November. In the Bengali, Maithili, and Nepali calendars it is the 7th month, in the Tamil calendar it is the 8th month.

List of Hindu festivals

There are a great number of Hindu religious festivals held throughout the world. The festivals typically celebrate events from Hindu mythology, often coinciding with seasonal changes. There are many festivals which are primarily celebrated by specific sects or in certain regions of the Indian subcontinent.

The festive season in a is the most widely celebrated and rejoiced by the people. Festivals not only have a historic significance to them, they are rooted in various cultural and linguistic norms associated with them. The festivities have their own spark, they bring together, or in other words, unite people of different religions and sects into a unified whole. With so many festivals always round the corner, there is a wave of liveliness and celebration in the society. Bringing people together is just one aspect of it, festivals hold with them the sacred cultural roots and traditions that is unique to every festival. The onset of the famous Diwali marks the beginning of lighting 'diyas', beautifying homes, offering gifts and visiting our near and dear ones. Similarly, the Holi festival is said to be the 'Festival of Colors", with its magnificent rain dance and the 'gulaal', it surely colors the lives of people.

Magha (month)

Maagha (Nepali: माघ maagh) is a month of the Hindu calendar. In Nepal's national civil calendar, Maagh is the tenth month of the year, and in the Gregorian calendar it corresponds with January/February.In lunar calendars, Maagh may begin on either the new moon or the full moon around the same time of year, and is usually the tenth month of the year. It is named thus because in this month, the full moon is usually found nearby or within the star cluster called "Magha".

In solar calendars, Maagh begins with the Sun's entry into Capricorn, and is usually the eleventh month of the year.


Paksha (or pakṣa: Sanskrit: पक्ष) refers to a fortnight or a lunar phase in a month of the Hindu lunar calendar.Literally meaning "side", a paksha is the period either side of the Full Moon Day (Purnima). A lunar month in the Hindu calendar has two fortnights, and begins with the New moon, (Amavasya). The lunar days are called tithis and each month has 30 tithis, which may vary from 20 – 27 hours. A paksha has 15 tithis, which are calculated by a 12 degree motion of the Moon. The first fortnight between New Moon Day and Full Moon Day is called “Gaura Paksha” or Shukla Paksha, the period of the brightening moon (waxing moon), and the second fortnight of the month is called “Krishna Paksha”, or Vadhya Paksha, the period of the fading moon (waning moon). Nimach Panchang begin new lunar month from first day of Krishna Paksha while Gujarat Panchang begin new lunar month from first day of Shukla Paksha.


Panchami is the fifth day (tithi) of the fortnight (paksha) in Hindu lunar calendar.


Pradosha or Pradosham (IAST: Pradoṣa) is a bimonthly occasion on the thirteenth day of every fortnight in Hindu calendar. It is closely connected with the worship of Hindu god Shiva. The auspicious 3 hour period, 1.5 hours before and after the sunset is one of the optimum time for worship of Lord Shiva. The fast or vow performed during the period is called "Pradosha vrata". A devotee should wear rudraksha, Vibhuti and worship Lord Shiva by Abisheka, Sandal paste, Vilva leaves, Fragrance, Deepa & Naivaedyaas (Food offerings)


Purnima (also called Poornima, Pournima, Bangla: পূর্ণিমা, Sanskrit: पूर्णिमा (IAST: pūrṇimā)) is the Indian and Nepali word for full moon, while in Indonesian it is known as Purnama. The day of Purnima is the day (Tithi) in each month when the full moon occurs, and marks the division in each month between the two lunar fortnights (Paksha).

A full moon occurs when the Sun and the Moon appear separated by 180°. This lunar day is the considered auspicious for new beginnings. The Shukla ("bright") Paksha is the fortnight before, and the Krishna ("dark") Paksha is the fortnight after Purnima.

This lunar phase lasts only for a while, when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are aligned exactly in a straight line, called a syzygy of the Sun–Earth–Moon system. Full moon is considered the third of the four primary phases of the Moon; the other three phases are new moon, first quarter moon, and third quarter moon. The full moon shows 100% illumination, causes high tides, and can concur with lunar eclipses.

Ritu (Indian season)

Ritu (Sanskrit: ऋतु, Bengali: ঋতু) defines "season" in different ancient Indian calendars used in countries of India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and there are six ritus (also transliterated rutu) or seasons. The word is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit word Ṛtú, a fixed or appointed time, especially the proper time for sacrifice (yajna) or ritual in Vedic religion; this in turn comes from the word Ṛta (ऋत), as used in Vedic Sanskrit literally means the "order or course of things". This word is used in nearly all Indian languages.

Telugu people

The Telugu people or Telugu vaaru, are a Dravidian ethnic group who speak Telugu as their native language and/or trace their ancestry to the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. There is also a large significant Telugu population in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Telugu language is the third-most spoken language in India and the fourth most in the Indian subcontinent, following Hindi, Bengali and Marathi.

Vikram Samvat

Vikram Samvat (IAST: Vikrama Samvat) (abbreviated as V.S. (or VS) or B.S. (or BS)); Listen ) (also called the Bikrami calendar or sometimes just Hindu calendar) is the historical Hindu calendar from the Indian subcontinent and the official calendar of modern-day India and Nepal. It uses lunar months and solar sidereal years.

Months of the Hindu calendar
Months of the Nepali calendar
Nearly universal
In wide use
In more
limited use
By specialty
Displays and
Year naming
Major festivals
Other important festivals
Regional New Year
Holy days
Holy periods

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