Nanakshahi calendar

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Guru Nanak Dev Ji

The Nanakshahi calendar is a tropical solar calendar used in Sikhism. It is based on the "Barah Maha" (Twelve Months), a composition composed by the Sikh gurus reflecting the changes in nature conveyed in the twelve-month cycle of the year. [1] The year begins with the month of Chet, with 1 Chet corresponding to 14 March. The reference epoch of the Nanakshahi calendar is the birth of Guru Nanak Dev, corresponding to the year 1469 CE. [2]



The Nanakshahi Calendar is named after the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. [3]


Sikhs have traditionally recognised two eras and luni-solar calendars: the Nanakshahi and Khalsa. Traditionally, both these calendars closely followed the Bikrami calendar with the Nanakshahi year beginning on Katak Pooranmashi (full moon) and the Khalsa year commencing with Vaisakhi. [4] The methods for calculating the beginning of the Khalsa era were based on the Bikrami calendar. The year length was also the same as the Bikrami solar year. [5] According to Steel (2000), (since the calendar was based on the Bikrami), the calendar has twelve lunar months that are determined by the lunar phase, but thirteen months in leap years which occur every 2–3 years in the Bikrami calendar to sync the lunar calendar with its solar counterpart. [6] Kay (2011) abbreviates the Khalsa Era as KE. [7]

References to the Nanakshahi Era have been made in historic documents. [8] Banda Singh Bahadur adopted the Nanakshahi calendar in 1710 C.E. after his victory in Sirhind (12 May 1710 C.E.) [9] according to which the year 1710 C.E. became Nanakshahi 241. However, Singh (2008) states the date of the victory as 14 May 1710 CE. [10] According to Dilgeer (1997), Banda "continued adopting the months and the days of the months according to the Bikrami calendar". [11] Banda Singh Bahadur also minted new coins also called Nanakshahi. [12] Herrli (1993) states that "Banda is supposed to have dated his coins according to his new calendar. Although Banda may have proclaimed this era, it cannot be traced in contemporary documents and does not seem to have been actually used for dating". [13] According to The Panjab Past and Present (1993), it is Gian Singh who "is the first to use Nanak Shahi Samvats along with those of Bikrami Samvats" in the Twarikh Guru Khalsa. [14] According to Singha (1996), Gian Singh was a Punjabi author born in 1822. [15] Gian Singh wrote the Twarikh Guru Khalsa in 1891. [16]

The revised Nanakshahi calendar was designed by Pal Singh Purewal to replace the Bikrami calendar. [17] The epoch of this calendar is the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Nanak Dev in 1469 and the Nanakshahi year commences on 1 Chet. New Year's Day falls annually on what is 14 March in the Gregorian Western calendar. [18] The start of each month is fixed. [19] According to Kapel (2006), the solar accuracy of the Nanakshahi calendar is linked to the Gregorian civil calendar. [20] This is because the Nanaskhahi calendar uses the tropical year [21] instead of using the sidereal year which is used in the Bikrami calendar or the old Nanakshahi and Khalsa calendars.

The amended Nanakshahi calendar was adopted in 1998 and released in 1999 by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee ("SGPC") to determine the dates for important Sikh events. [22] Due to controversy surrounding the amended calendar, it was shortly retracted. [23] The calendar was re-released in 2003 by the SGPC with three dates: Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Birth, Holla Mohalla, and Bandi Chhor Divas kept movable as per the old Bikrami system as a compromise. [24] [25] The calendar was implemented during the SGPC presidency of Sikh scholar Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar at Takhat Sri Damdama Sahib in the presence of Sikh leadership. [18] The Mool Nanakshahi Calendar recognizes the adoption event, of 1999 CE, in the Sikh history when SGPC released the first calendar with permanently fixed dates in the Tropical Calendar. Therefore, the calculations of this calendar do not regress back from 1999 CE into the Bikrami era, and accurately fixes for all time in the future. [26]

Features of the Nanakshahi calendar (2003)

Features of the original Nanakshahi calendar (2003 Version): [27] [28]


No.Name Punjabi [32] DaysGregorian MonthsSeason [33]
1 Chet ਚੇਤ3114 March – 13 AprilBasant (Spring)
2 Vaisakh ਵੈਸਾਖ3114 April – 14 MayBasant (Spring)
3 Jeth ਜੇਠ3115 May – 14 JuneGarikham (Summer)
4 Harh ਹਾੜ3115 June – 15 JulyGarisham (Summer)
5 Sawan ਸਾਵਣ3116 July – 15 AugustRut Baras (Rainy season)
6 Bhadon ਭਾਦੋਂ3016 August – 14 SeptemberRut Baras (Rainy season)
7 Assu ਅੱਸੂ3015 September – 14 OctoberSard (Autumn)
8 Kattak ਕੱਤਕ3015 October – 13 NovemberSard (Autumn)
9 Maghar ਮੱਘਰ3014 November – 13 DecemberSisiar (Winter)
10 Poh ਪੋਹ3014 December – 12 JanuarySisiar (Winter)
11 Magh ਮਾਘ3013 January – 11 FebruaryHimkar (late Winter/early Spring)
12 Phaggan ਫੱਗਣ30/3112 February – 13 MarchHimkar (late Winter/early Spring)


In 2010, the SGPC modified the calendar so that the dates for the start of the months are movable so that they coincide with the Bikrami calendar and changed the dates for various Sikh festivals so they are based upon the lunar phase. [34] This has created controversy with some bodies adopting the original 2003 version, also called the "Mool Nanakshahi Calendar" [35] and others, the 2010 version. [36] By 2014, the SGPC had scrapped the Nanakshahi calendar from 2003 and reverted to the Bikrami calendar entirely, however it was still published under the name of Nanakshahi. [37] The Sikh bodies termed it a step taken under pressure from the RSS and Shiromani Akali Dal. [38] [39] There is also some controversy about the acceptance of the calendar altogether among certain sectors of the Sikh world. [28]

SGPC president, Gobind Singh Longowal, on 13 March 2018 urged all Sikhs to follow the current (2014) Nanakshahi calendar. [40] The previous SGPC President before Longowal, Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar, tried to appeal the Akal Takht to celebrate the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh on 23 Poh (5 January) as per the original Nanakshahi calendar, but the appeal was denied. [41] The PSGPC and a majority of the other gurdwara managements across the world are opposing the modified version of the calendar citing that the SGPC reverted to the Bikrami calendar. They argue that in the Bikrami calendar, dates of many gurpurbs coincide, thereby creating confusion among the Sikh Panth. [38]

According to Ahaluwalia (2003), the Nanakshahi calendar goes against the use of lunar Bikrami dates by the Gurus themselves and is contradictory. It begins with the year of birth of Guru Nanak Dev, but the first date, 1 Chet, is when Guru Har Rai was installed the seventh Guru. [42] However, the first date of the Nanakshahi calendar (1 Chet) is based upon the Barah Maha of the Guru Granth Sahib, which has Chet as the first month. [43] Pal Singh Purewal, as reported in the Edmonton Journal (March 2018) has stated that his aims in formulating the Nanakshahi calendar were, "first and foremost, it should respect sacred holy scriptures. Second, it should discard the lunar calendar and use only a solar one. Third, all the dates should be fixed and not vary from year to year." [37] In reality however, state Haar and Kalsi (2009), the introduction of the Nanakshahi calendar has resulted in many festivals being "celebrated on two dates depending on the choice of the management of the local gurdwaras." [44]

In 2017, a conference was held in Chicago [45] where it was decided to fix the three movable dates from the 2003 version and fully follow the original version published in 1999. [46]

Months (2014 version)

The start date of the months in the modified Nanakshahi calendar are not fixed and hence do not correspond to the seasons. [3]

No.Name Punjabi Gregorian Months
1 Chet ਚੇਤMarch – April
2 Vaisakh ਵੈਸਾਖApril – May
3 Jeth ਜੇਠMay – June
4 Harh ਹਾੜJune – July
5 Sawan ਸਾਵਣJuly – August
6 Bhadon ਭਾਦੋਂAugust – September
7 Assu ਅੱਸੂSeptember – October
8 Kattak ਕੱਤਕOctober – November
9 Maghar ਮੱਘਰNovember – December
10 Poh ਪੋਹDecember – January
11 Magh ਮਾਘJanuary – February
12 Phaggan ਫੱਗਣFebruary – March

Festivals and events (2003 version)

Dates of observance of festivals as determined by reference to the 2003 version.

Festivals and events (Original Nanakshahi calendar) [47] Nanakshahi dateGregorian date
Guru Har Rai becomes the 7th Guru
Nanakshahi New Year Commences
1 Chet 14 Mar
Guru Hargobind merges back to the Creator6 Chet 19 Mar
The ordination of the Khalsa
Birth of Guru Nanak (Vaisakhi Date) [48]
1 Vaisakh 14 Apr
Guru Angad merges back to the Creator
Guru Amar Das becomes the 3rd Guru
Guru Harkrishan merges back to the Creator
Guru Tegh Bahadur becomes the 9th Guru
3 Vaisakh 16 Apr
Birth of Guru Angad, the 2nd Guru
Birth of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the 9th Guru
5 Vaisakh 18 Apr
Birth of Guru Arjan, the 5th Guru19 Vaisakh 2 May
Birth of Guru Amar Das, the 3rd Guru9 Jeth 23 May
Guru Hargobind becomes the 6th Guru28 Jeth 11 Jun
Guru Arjan, the 5th Guru, is martyred2 Harh 16 Jun
Foundation Day of the Akaal Takht 18 Harh 16 Jun
Birth of Guru Hargobind, the 6th Guru21 Harh 5 Jul
Miri-Piri is established by Guru Hargobind 6 Sawan 21 Jul
Birth of Guru Harkrishan, the 8th Guru8 Sawan 23 Jul
The writing of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scripture, is completed15 Bhadon 30 Aug
Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scripture, is installed at the Golden Temple for the first time17 Bhadon 1 Sep
Guru Amar Das merges back to the Creator
Guru Ram Das becomes the 4th Guru
Guru Ram Das merges back to the Creator
Guru Arjan becomes the 5th Guru
2 Assu 16 Sep
Guru Angad becomes the 2nd Guru4 Assu 18 Sep
Guru Nanak merges back to the Creator8 Assu 22 Sep
Birth of Guru Ram Das, the 4th Guru25 Assu 9 Oct
Guru Har Rai merges back to the Creator
Guru Harkrishan becomes the 8th Guru
The Guru Granth Sahib is declared as the Guru for all times to come by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th and the last human Guru
6 Katak 20 Oct
Guru Gobind Singh merges back to the Creator7 Katak 21 Oct
Guru Gobind Singh becomes the 10th Guru11 Maghar 24 Nov
Guru Tegh Bahadur martyred in Delhi by Aurangzeb for defending the oppressed11 Maghar 24 Nov
Ajit Singh, and Jujhar Singh, the two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh, martyred in the battle of Chamkaur 8 Poh 21 Dec
Zorawar Singh, and Fateh Singh, the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh, executed in Sirhind 13 Poh 26 Dec
Birth of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru23 Poh 5 Jan
Birth of Guru Har Rai, the 7th Guru19 Magh 31 Jan

Movable dates for Sikh Festivals in the 2003 and 2010 versions. (These change every year in line with the Lunar Phase) [49]

Year Hola Mohalla Bandi Chhor Divas Birth of Guru Nanak Dev
200319 Mar25 Oct8 Nov
20047 Mar12 Nov26 Nov
200526 Mar1 Nov15 Nov
200615 Mar21 Oct5 Nov
20074 Mar9 Nov24 Nov
200822 Mar28 Oct13 Nov
200911 Mar17 Oct2 Nov
20101 Mar5 Nov21 Nov
201120 Mar26 Oct10 Nov
20129 Mar13 Nov28 Nov
201328 Mar3 Nov17 Nov
201417 Mar23 Oct6 Nov
20156 Mar11 Nov25 Nov
201624 Mar30 Oct14 Nov
201713 Mar19 Oct4 Nov
20182 Mar7 Nov23 Nov
201921 Mar27 Oct12 Nov
202010 Mar14 Nov30 Nov

See also

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