Hindu calendar

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

The Hindu calendar refers to a set of various lunisolar calendars that are traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and South-east Asia, with further regional variations for social and Hindu religious purposes. They adopt a similar underlying concept for timekeeping based on sidereal year for solar cycle and adjustment of lunar cycles in every three years, however also 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 Nepal, North and Central regions of India, Tamil calendar used in Tamil Nadu – all of which emphasize the lunar cycle. Their new year starts in spring. 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 conceptual design is also found in the Jewish calendar, but different from the Gregorian calendar. [4] Unlike the Gregorian calendar which adds additional days to the 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 inserts an extra full month by complex rules, once every 32–33 months, 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 Vedic times, and remain in use by the Hindus all over the world, particularly to set Hindu festival dates. Early Buddhist communities of India adopted the ancient Vedic 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 Jain 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 as well as observing special appearance days of the Lord and fasting days such as Ekadasi.


Time keeping

[The current year] minus one,
multiplied by twelve,
multiplied by two,
added to the elapsed [half months of current year],
increased by two for every sixty [in the sun],
is the quantity of half-months (syzygies).

— Rigveda Jyotisha-vedanga 4
Translator: Kim Plofker [10]

The Vedic culture developed a sophisticated time keeping methodology and calendars for Vedic rituals, [11] and timekeeping as well as the nature of solar and moon movements are mentioned in Vedic texts. [12] 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. [13] [14]

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. [15] [16] [17] This study was one of the six ancient Vedangas, or ancillary science connected with the Vedas – the scriptures of Vedic Sanatan Sanskriti. [15] [16]

David Pingree has proposed that the field of timekeeping in Jyotisha may have been "derived from Mesopotamia during the Achaemenid period", [18] but Yukio Ohashi considers this proposal as "definitely wrong". [19] Ohashi states that this Vedanga field developed from actual astronomical studies in ancient Vedic Period. [20] 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. [21] According to Subhash Kak, the beginning of the Hindu calendar was much earlier. He cites Greek historians describing Maurya kings referring to a calendar which originated in 6676 BC known as Saptarsi calendar. [22]

The Vikrami calendar is named after king Vikramaditya and starts in 57 BCE. [23]


Dharmic (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. [24] These texts present Surya and various planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion. [24] 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. [24]

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. [25] [26] [27] 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: [28]

Smskrth (Sanskrit) texts: How many days in a year?
Hindu textEstimated length of the sidereal year [28]
Surya Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 36.56 seconds
Paulica Siddhanta365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 36 seconds
Paracara Siddhanta365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 31.50 seconds
Arya Siddhanta365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 30.84 seconds
Laghu Arya Siddhanta365 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 the mismatch between the nearly 354 lunar days in twelve months, versus nearly 365 solar days in a year. [4] [29] 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. [30] 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. [29] As their calendar keeping and astronomical observations became more sophisticated, the Hindu calendar became more sophisticated with complex rules and greater accuracy. [29] [31] [30]

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. [29] 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 mean diameter of the earth, which was very close to the actual 12,742 km (7,918 mi). [29] [30]

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).[ citation needed ]


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, [20] [32] [33] because their zodiac signs are nearly identical. [16] [34]

The ancient Hindu texts on Jyotisha only discuss timekeeping, and never mention astrology or prophecy. [35] These ancient texts predominantly cover astronomy, but at a rudimentary level. [17] 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 Nepal and India, 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. KedukanBukit001.jpg
The Hindu calendar saka samvat system is found in Indonesian inscriptions, such as the above dated to 611 CE.


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 and Purnima 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. [46]

Amavasyant (Amanta, Mukhyamana) tradition is followed by all Indian states that have a peninsular coastline (except Odisha), as well as Assam and Tripura. The states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and West Bengal. Odisha and all other states follow the Purnimanta (Gaunamana) tradition.

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 akhanda Bharat 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 "Gaura Paksha" or Shukla Paksha. [48] The other half is the darkening, waning fortnight which ends in the new moon. This is called "Vadhya Paksha" or Krishna Paksha. [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 colours 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. [31] 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. [31] [30]

Solar month names

There are 12 months in the Vedic 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 approximate correspondence to Hindu seasons and Gregorian months are: [30]

lunar months [31]
Sidereal signs Gregorian
months [31]
Ṛtu in Devanagari scriptBengali name for Ṛtu Gujarati name for Ṛtu Kannada name for Ṛtu Kashmiri name for Ṛtu Malayalam name for Ṛtu Odia name for Ṛtu Tamil name for Ṛtu Telugu name for Ṛtu Tibetan name for Ṛtu Kalachakra tantra Tibetan-name for Ṛtu




Mid Mar–

Mid May



वसन्तবসন্ত (Bôsôntô)વસંત ઋતુ (Vasaṃta r̥tu)ವಸಂತ ಋತು (Vasaṃta Ṛtu)سونٛتھ


വസന്തം‌ (Vasaṃtam)ବସନ୍ତ (Basanta)பின்பனி (pinpani)వసంత ఋతువు (Vasaṃta Ṛtuvu)དཔྱིད་ར་བ་དང་དཔྱིད་བར་མ (shid rawa, thang, shid warma)དཔྱིད་ཀ (shid ka)




Mid May–

Mid July



ग्रीष्मগ্রীষ্ম (Grishsho)ગ્રીષ્મ ઋતુ (Grīṣma r̥tu)ಗ್ರೀಷ್ಮ ಋತು (Grīṣma Ṛtu)گرٛێشِم


ഗ്രീഷ്മം (Grīṣmam)ଗ୍ରୀଷ୍ମ (Grīṣma)இளவேனில் (ilavenil)గ్రీష్మ ఋతువు (Grīṣma Ṛtuvu)དཔྱིད་ཐ་མ་དང་དབྱར་ར་བ། (shid dama, thang, yar rawa)སོ་ག(soga)




Mid July–

Mid Sep



वर्षाবর্ষা (Bôrsha)વર્ષા ઋતુ (Varṣa r̥tu)ವರ್ಷ ಋತು (Varṣa Ṛtu)ؤہراتھ


വര്‍ഷം‌ (Varṣām)ବର୍ଷା (Barṣā)முதுவேனில் (mudhuvenil)వర్ష ఋతువు (Varṣa Ṛtuvu)དབྱར་བར་མ་དང་དབྱར་ཐ་མ (yarwarma, thang, yardama)དབྱར་ག (yarka)




Mid Sep–

Mid Nov



शरद्শরৎ(Shôrôt)શરદ ઋતુ (Śarad r̥tu)ಶರದೃತು (Śaradṛtu)ہَرُد


ശരത്‌ (Śarat)ଶରତ (Śarata)கார் (kaar)శరదృతువు (Śaradṛtuvu)སྟོན་ར་བ་དང་སྟོན་བར་མ (ston rawa, thang, ston warma)སྟོན་ཁ (stonka)




Mid Nov–

Mid Jan



हेमन्तহেমন্ত (Hemôntô)હેમંત ઋતુ (Hēmaṃta r̥tu)ಹೇಮಂತ ಋತು (Hēmaṃta Ṛtu)وَنٛدٕ


ഹേമന്തം‌ (Hemantam)ହେମନ୍ତ (Hemanta)குளிர் (kulir)హేమంత ఋతువు (Hēmaṃta Ṛtuvu)སྟོན་ཐ་མ་དང་དགུན་ར་བ (ston da ma, thang, dgun rawa)དགུན་སྟོད (dgun stod)




Mid Jan–

Mid March



शिशिरশীত (Śeet)શિશિર ઋતુ (Śiśira r̥tu)ಶಿಶಿರ ಋತು (Śiśira Ṛtu)شِشُر/ شِشِر

/ʃiʃur/ or /ʃiʃir/

ശിശിരം‌ (Śiśiram)ଶୀତ/ଶିଶିର (Śīta/Śiśira)முன்பனி (munpani)శిశిర ఋతువు (Śiśira Ṛtuvu)དགུན་བར་མ་དང་དགུན་ཐ་མ (dgun warma, thang, dgun dama)དགུན་སྨད (dgun smad)

The names of the solar months are also used in the Darian calendar for the planet Mars.

Lunar months and approximate correspondence

The names of the Hindu 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 timekeeping knowledge travelled widely across the Indian subcontinent in ancient times. [1] [30]

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]
(lunar) [31]
OdiaSindhiTamilTulu (solar)Tibetan (lunar)Gregorian
1 Chaitra MinaSótচৈত্র (Choitrô)Chaitraژِتھٕر


Minamଚୈତ୍ର (Chaitra)ChaituChithiraiSuggiནག་པ་ཟླ་བMarch–April
2 Vaisākha MēshaBöhagবৈশাখ (Boiśākh)Vaisākhaوَہؠکھ or بیساکھ

/wahʲakʰ/ or /beːsaːkʰ/

Medamବୈଶାଖ (Baiśākha)Vaisakhu/ VihaauVaigasiPagguས་ག་ཟླ་བApril–May
3 Jyeshta VrishaZethজ্য়ৈষ্ঠ (Jyoisthô)Jyeshtaزیٹھ


Edavamଜ୍ୟେଷ୍ଠ (Jyeṣṭha)JethuAaniBēshaསྣྲོན་ཟླ་བMay–June
4 Āshāda MithunaAharআষাঢ় (Āsādh)Āshādaہار


Mithunamଆଷାଢ଼ (Āsādha)Aakhaar / AahaaruAadiKārtelཆུ་སྟོད་ཟླ་བJune–July
5 Shraavana KarkaXaünশ্রাবণ (Śrābôṇ)Shrāvanaشرٛاوُن


Karkadakamଶ୍ରାବଣ (Śrābaṇa)SaanvanAavaniAaṭiགྲོ་བཞིན་ཟླ་བJuly–August
6 Bhādra SingaBhadoভাদ্র (Bhādrô)Bhādrapadaبٲدٕرپؠتھ or بٲد رؠتھ

/bəːdɨr pʲatʰ/ or /bəːd rʲatʰ/

Chingamଭାଦ୍ରବ (Bhādraba)Badro/ BaddoPurattasiSonaཁྲིམས་སྟོད་ཟླ་བAugust–September
7 Ashwina KanyaAhinআশ্বিন (Āśhshin)Āswayujaٲشِد


Kanniଆଶ୍ୱିନ (Āświna)AssuAippasiKanya/Nirnālཐ་སྐར་ཟླ་བSeptember–October
8 Kartika TulaKatiকার্তিক (Kārtik)Kārtikaکارتِکھ


Tulamକାର୍ତ୍ତିକ (Kārttika)KatiKarthigaiBontelསྨིན་དྲུག་ཟླ་བOctober–November
VrischikaAghünঅগ্রহায়ণ (Ôgrôhāyôn)Mārgasiraمَنٛجہۆر or مۄنٛجہِ ہور or مَگَر

/mand͡ʒhor/ or /mɔnd͡ʒihoːr/ or /magar/

Vrischikamମାର୍ଗଶିର (Mārgaśira)Naahiri / MangharMargazhiJārdeམགོ་ཟླ་བNovember–December
10 Pausha DhanusPuhপৌষ (Poush)Pushyaپوہ or پۄہ

/poːh/ or /pɔh/

Dhanuପୌଷ (Pauṣa)PohuThaiPerardeརྒྱལ་ཟླ་བDecember–January
11 Māgha MakaraMaghমাঘ (Māgh)Maghaماگ


Makaramମାଘ (Māgha)ManghuMaasiPuyintelམཆུ་ཟླ་བJanuary–February
12 Phālguna KumbhaPhagunফাল্গুন (Phālgun)Phalgunaپھاگُن


Kumbhamଫାଲ୍ଗୁନ (Phālguna)PhagunPanguniMāyiདབོ་ཟླ་བFebruary–March

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. [29] Purushottam Maas or Adhik Maas is an extra month that is inserted to keep the lunar and solar calendars aligned. 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. [29] [30]

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 Hindu 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. Underhill (1991) describes this part of Hindu calendar theory: "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 Vedic 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. [45] 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, each ghatika (24 minutes) is divided into 60 pala, each pala (24 seconds) is subdivided into 60 vipala, and so on. [59]

Names of the weekdays in regional languages
No. Sanskrit [59] [60] Latin weekdayCelestial object Assamese Bengali Bhojpuri Gujarati Hindi Kannada Kashmiri Malayalam Marathi Nepali Odia Punjabi
(Hindus and Sikhs) [note 1]
Rohingya Sylheti Tamil Telugu Urdu
1 Ravivāsara
रविवासर or
Aditya vāsara
आदित्य वासर
Sunday/dies Solis Ravi, Aditya = Sun Dêûbār/Rôbibār
/aːtʰwaːr/ آتھوار Njaayar
Rooibar Rôibbār
Itwaar اتوار
2 Somavāsara
Monday/dies Lunae Soma (deity), Chandra = Moon Xûmbār
Cómbar Śombār
3 Maṅgalavāsara
मङ्गलवासर or
भौम वासर
Tuesday/dies Martis Maṅgala = Mars Môṅôlbār/Môṅgôlbār
/boːmwaːr/ or /bɔ̃waːr/
بوم وار or بۄنٛو ار
Mongolbar Môṅgôlbār
4 Budhavāsara
बुधवासर or
Saumya vasara
सौम्य वासर
Wednesday/dies Mercurii Budha = Mercury Budhbār
بۄد وار
Buidbar Budbār
5 Guruvāsara
Brhaspati vāsara
Thursday/dies Iovis/Jupiter Deva-Guru Bṛhaspati = Jupiter Brihôspôtibār
गुरुवार or
/braswaːr/ or /brʲaswaːr/
برَٛسوار or برٛؠسوار
Bicíbbar Birôiśôtbār
Guruvāraṁ, Br̥haspativāraṁ
గురువారం, బృహస్పతివారం, లక్ష్మీవారం
6 Śukravāsara
Friday/dies Veneris Śukra = Venus Xukurbār/Xukrôbār
Cúkkurbar Śukkurbār
7 Śanivāsara
Saturday/dies Saturnis Śani = Saturn Xônibār
بَٹہٕ وار
Cónibar Śônibār
  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 Vedic 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. [45] 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. Dhrti
  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. (citation needed )


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

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 at times by several weeks.The solar cycle based ancient Hindu 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 Hindu Calendar Reform Committee, appointed in 1952, identified more than thirty well-developed calendars, in use across different parts of India.

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 and Nepal, 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

Related Research Articles

Chandra Lunar deity in Hinduism

Chandra is a lunar deity and is also one of the nine planets (Navagraha) in Hinduism. His chief consort is Rohini. Chandra is synonymous to Soma. Other names include Indu, Atrisuta, Sachihna, Tārādhipa and Nishakara.

<i>Tithi</i> Aspect of Vedic timekeeping

In Vedic timekeeping, a tithi is a [duration of two faces of moon that is observed from earth], or the time it takes for the longitudinal angle between the Moon and the Sun to increase by 12°. In other words, a tithi is a time-duration between the consecutive epochs that correspond to when the longitudinal-angle between sun and moon is an integer multiple of 12°. Tithis begin at varying times of day and vary in duration from approximately 19 to approximately 26 hours.


A panchānga is a Hindu calendar and almanac, which follows traditional units of Hindu timekeeping, and presents important dates and their calculations in a tabulated form. It is sometimes spelled Pancanga, Panchanga, Panchaanga, or Panchānga, and is pronounced Panchānga. Pachangas are used in Jyotisha.

Mangala Hindu Graha (planet) deity

Mangala is the name for Mars, the red planet, in Hindu texts. Also known as Lohit, he is the god of war, celibate and sometimes linked to god Karttikeya (Skanda). His origins vary with different mythological texts; in most texts, he is the son of Bhumi, the Earth Goddess and Vishnu, born when he raised her from the depths of water in Varaha avatar. In other myths, he is born from Shiva's sweat or blood drop.

The Buddhist calendar is a set of lunisolar calendars primarily used in mainland Southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand as well as in Sri Lanka and Chinese populations of Malaysia and Singapore for religious or official occasions. While the calendars share a common lineage, they also have minor but important variations such as intercalation schedules, month names and numbering, use of cycles, etc. In Thailand, the name Buddhist Era is a year numbering system shared by the traditional Thai lunisolar calendar and by the Thai solar calendar.

Vikram Samvat and also known as the Vikrami calendar, is the historical Hindu calendar in the Indian subcontinent. It is the official religious calendar of Nepal. In India it is used in several states. The calendar uses lunar months and solar sidereal years.


Amāvásyā is the lunar phase of the New moon in Sanskrit. Indian calendars use 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 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.

Vṛścik‌‌‌a, also referred to as Vrishchika or Vrschika, is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Scorpio, and approximately overlaps with the later half of November and first half of December in the Gregorian calendar.

<i>Surya Siddhanta</i> Sanskrit text on Indian astronomy

The Sūrya Siddhānta is a Sanskrit treatise in Indian astronomy in fourteen chapters. The Surya Siddhanta describes rules to calculate the motions of various planets and the moon relative to various constellations, and calculates the orbits of various astronomical bodies. The text is known from a 15th-century CE palm-leaf manuscript, and several newer manuscripts. It was composed or revised c. 800 CE from an earlier text also called the Surya Siddhanta.


Saura is a term found in Indian religions, and it connotes "sun" (Surya) or anything "solar"-related.

Karkaṭa, also referred to as Karka or Karkatha, is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Cancer, and overlaps approximately with the later half of July and early half of August in the Gregorian calendar.

Budha Hindu deity

Budha graha is a Sanskrit word that connotes the planet Mercury. Budha, in Puranic Hindu legends, is also a deity.

Bengali calendars

The Bengali Calendar or Bangla Calendar is a luni-solar calendar used in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent. A revised version of the calendar is the national and official calendar in Bangladesh and an earlier version of the calendar is followed in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam. The New Year in the Bengali calendar is known as Pohela Boishakh.

Meṣa, or Mesha (मेष), is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Aries, and overlaps with about the second half of April and about the first half of May in the Gregorian calendar.

Vṛṣabha, or Vrishabha, is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Taurus, and overlaps with about the second half of May and about the first half of June in the Gregorian calendar.

Siṃha is one of the twelve months in the Indian solar calendar.

Tulā is one of the twelve months in the Indian solar calendar.

Mesha Sankranti

Mesha Sankranti refers to the first day of the solar cycle year, that is the solar New Year in the Hindu luni-solar calendar. The Hindu calendar also has a lunar new year, which is religiously more significant, and falls on different dates in the Amanta and Purinamanta systems prevalent across the Indian subcontinent. The solar cycle year is significant in Odia, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Bengali calendars.

Mithuna is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Gemini, and overlaps with about the second half of June and about the first half of July in the Gregorian calendar.

Kumbha is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Aquarius, and overlaps with about the second half of February and about the first half of March in the Gregorian calendar.


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Further reading