Vikram Samvat

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Vikram Samvat (IAST: Vikrama Samvat; abbreviated VS) or Bikram Sambat B.S. and also known as the Vikrami calendar, is a national calendar of Nepal historically used in the Indian subcontinent. Vikram Samvat is generally 57 years ahead of Gregorian Calendar, except during January to April, when it is ahead by 56 years. Alongside Nepal Sambat, it is one of the two official calendars used in Nepal. In India, it is used in several states. [1] [2] The traditional Vikram Samvat calendar, as used in India, uses lunar months and solar sidereal years. The Nepali Bikram Sambat introduced in 1901 CE, also uses a solar sidereal year.

Contents

History

A number of ancient and medieval inscriptions used the Vikram Samvat. Although it was reportedly named after the legendary king Vikramaditya, the term "Vikrama Samvat" does not appear in the historical record before the 9th century; the same calendar system is found with other names, such as Krita and Malava. [3] In colonial scholarship, the era was believed to be based on the commemoration of King Vikramaditya expelling the Sakas from Ujjain. However, later epigraphical evidence and scholarship suggest that this theory has no historical basis. During the 9th century, epigraphical artwork began using Vikram Samvat (suggesting that the Hindu calendar era in use became popular as Vikram Samvat); Buddhist and Jain epigraphy continued to use an era based on the Buddha or the Mahavira. [4]

Vikramaditya legend

The Jain monk Kalakacharya and the Saka king (Kalakacharya Katha manuscript, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai) Westindischer Maler um 1400 001.jpg
The Jain monk Kalakacharya and the Saka king (Kalakacharya Katha manuscript, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai)

According to popular tradition, King Vikramaditya of Ujjain established the Vikrama Samvat era after defeating the Śakas.

Kalakacharya Kathanaka (An account of the monk Kalakacharya), by the Jain sage Mahesarasuri, gives the following account: Gandharvasena, the then-powerful king of Ujjain, abducted a nun called Sarasvati, who was the sister of the monk. The enraged monk sought the help of the Śaka ruler King Sahi in Sistan. Despite heavy odds but aided by miracles, the Śaka king defeated Gandharvasena and made him a captive. Sarasvati was repatriated, although Gandharvasena himself was forgiven. The defeated king retired to the forest, where he was killed by a tiger. His son, Vikramaditya, being brought up in the forest, had to rule from Pratishthana (modern Paithan in Maharashtra). Later on, Vikramaditya invaded Ujjain and drove away from the Śakas. To commemorate this event, he started a new era called the "Vikrama era". The Ujjain calendar started around 58–56 BCE, and the subsequent Shaka-era calendar was started in 78 CE at Pratishthana.[ full citation needed ]

Historical origins

The association of the era beginning in 57 BCE with Vikramaditya is not found in any source before the 9th century CE; earlier sources call the era "Kṛṭa" (343 and 371 CE), "Kritaa" (404), "the era of the Malava tribe" (424), or simply "Samvat". [5] [6] The earliest known inscription which calls the era "Vikrama" is from 842. This inscription, from the Chauhana ruler Chandamahasena, was found at Dholpur and is dated "Vikrama Samvat 898, Vaishakha Shukla 2, Chanda" (20 April 842). The earliest known inscription which associates the era with a king called Vikramaditya is dated 971, and the earliest literary work connecting the era to Vikramaditya is Subhashita-Ratna-Sandoha (993-994) by the Jain author Amitagati. [6]

A number of authors believe that the Vikram Samvat was not started by Vikramaditya, who might be a legendary king or a title adopted by a later king who renamed the era after himself. V. A. Smith and D. R. Bhandarkar believed that Chandragupta II adopted the title of Vikramaditya, and changed the era's name to "Vikrama Samvat". According to Rudolf Hoernlé, the king responsible for this change was Yashodharman. Hoernlé believed that he conquered Kashmir and is the "Harsha Vikramaditya" mentioned in Kalhana's Rajatarangini . [6]

Some earlier scholars believed that the Vikram Samvat corresponded to the Azes era of the Indo-Scythian (Śaka) king King Azes. This was disputed by Robert Bracey after the discovery of an inscription of Vijayamitra, which is dated in two eras. [7] The theory was discredited by Falk and Bennett, who place the inception of the Azes era in 47–46 BCE. [8]

Popularity

The Vikram Samvat has been used by Hindus, Sikhs, [9] and Pashtuns. [10] One of several regional Hindu calendars in use on the Indian subcontinent, it is based on twelve synodic lunar months and 365 solar days. [9] [11] The lunar year begins with the new moon of the month of Chaitra. [12] This day, known as Chaitra Sukhladi, is a restricted (optional) holiday in India. [13] [ failed verification ]

The calendar remains in use by people in Nepal serving as its national calendar and is also symbolically used by Hindus of north, west and central India. [3] In south India and portions of east and west India (such as Assam, West Bengal and Gujarat), the Indian national calendar is widely used. [14]

With the arrival of Islamic rule, the Hijri calendar became the official calendar of sultanates and the Mughal Empire. During British colonial rule of the Indian subcontinent, the Gregorian calendar was adopted and is commonly used in urban areas of India. [15] The predominantly-Muslim countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh have used the Islamic calendar since 1947, but older texts included the Vikram Samvat and Gregorian calendars. In 2003, the India-based Sikh Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee controversially adopted the Nanakshahi calendar. [9] The Bikram Sambat is the official calendar of Nepal. [16]

Calendar system

Like the Hebrew and Chinese calendars, the Vikram Samvat is lunisolar. [9] In common years, the year is 354 days long, [17] while a leap month (adhik maas) is added in accordance to the Metonic cycle roughly once every three years (or 7 times in a 19-year cycle) to ensure that festivals and crop-related rituals fall in the appropriate season. [9] [11] Early Buddhist communities in India adopted the ancient Hindu calendar, followed by the Vikram Samvat and local Buddhist calendars. Buddhist festivals are still scheduled according to a lunar system. [18]

The Vikram Samvat has two systems. It began in 56 BCE in the southern Hindu calendar system (amaanta) and 57–56 BCE in the northern system (purnimaanta). The Shukla Paksha, when most festivals occur, coincides in both systems. [14] [5] The lunisolar Vikram Samvat calendar is 56.7 years ahead of the solar Gregorian calendar; the year 2079 BS begins mid-April 2022 CE, and ends mid-April 2023 CE.

The Rana dynasty of Nepal made the Bikram Sambat the official Hindu calendar in 1901 CE, which began as 1958 Abbreviated as BS. [19] The new year in Nepal begins with the first day of the month of Baisakh, which usually falls around 13–15 April in the Gregorian calendar and ends with the last day of the month Chitra. The first day of the new year is a public holiday in Nepal. Bisket Jatra, an annual carnival in Bhaktapur, is also celebrated on Baishakh 1. In 2007, Nepal Sambat was also recognised as a national calendar alongside Bikram Sambat.

In India, the reformulated Saka calendar is officially used (except for computing dates of the traditional festivals). In the Hindi version of the preamble of the constitution of India, the date of its adoption (26 November 1949) is presented in Vikram Samvat as Margsheersh Shukla Saptami Samvat 2006. A call has been made for the Vikram Samvat to replace the Saka calendar as India's official calendar. [20]

New Year

Divisions of a year

The Vikram Samvat uses lunar months and solar sidereal years. Because 12 months do not match a sidereal year, correctional months ( adhika māsa ) are added or (occasionally) subtracted (kshaya masa). A lunar year consists of 12 months, and each month has two fortnights, with a variable duration ranging from 29 to 32 days. The lunar days are called tithis . Each month has 30 tithis, which vary in length from 20 to 27 hours. The waxing phase, beginning with the day after the new moon (amavasya), is called gaura or shukla paksha (the bright or auspicious fortnight). The waning phase is called krishna or vadhya paksha (the dark fortnight, considered inauspicious). [27]

Lunar metrics

Months

The classical Vikram Samvat is generally 57 years ahead of Gregorian Calendar, except during January to April, when it is ahead by 56 years. The month that the new year starts varies by region or sub-culture.

The Nepali BS, like other tropical calendars (such as Bangla) starts with Baisakh.

As of 14 April 2022, it is 2079 BS in the BS calendar. The names of months in the Vikram Samvat in Sanskrit and Nepali, [29] [30] with their roughly corresponding Gregorian months, respectively are:

Vikram Samvat monthsGregorian months
Vaiśākha or BaisakhApril–May
Jyēṣṭha or JesthaMay–June
Āshādha or AsarJune–July
Shrāvaṇa or SawanJuly–August
Bhādrapada or BhādraAugust–September
Ashvin or AsojaSeptember–October
Kārtika or KattikOctober–November
Agrahāyaṇa or Mangsir/MārgaśīrṣaNovember–December
Pauṣa or PaushDecember–January
Māgha or MaghJanuary–February
Phālguna or FalgunFebruary–March
Chaitra or ChaitMarch–April

See also

Related Research Articles

In chronology and periodization, an epoch or reference epoch is an instant in time chosen as the origin of a particular calendar era. The "epoch" serves as a reference point from which time is measured.

The Hindu calendar, Panchanga or Panjika is one of various lunisolar calendars that are traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast 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, 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. Of the various regional calendars, the most studied and known Hindu calendars are the Shalivahana Shaka(Based on the King Shalivahana, also the Indian national calendar) found in the Deccan region of Southern India and the Vikram Samvat (Bikrami) found in Nepal and the North and Central regions of India – both of which emphasize the lunar cycle. Their new year starts in spring. In regions such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the solar cycle is emphasized and this is called the Tamil calendar and Malayalam calendar and these have origins in the second half of the 1st millennium CE. A Hindu calendar is sometimes referred to as Panchangam (पञ्चाङ्ग), which is known also known as Panjika in Eastern India.

The history of calendars, that is, of people creating and using methods for keeping track of days and larger divisions of time, covers a practice with ancient roots.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chaitra</span> 1st month of the Hindu calendar

Chaitra is a month of the Hindu calendar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vaisakha</span> Month in Hindu calendar

Vaisakha is a month of the Hindu calendar that corresponds to April/May in the Gregorian Calendar. In the Indian national calendar, Vaisakha is the second month of the year. It is the first month of the Vikram Samvat calendar, Odia calendar, Punjabi calendar, Assamese calendar and the Bengali calendar. This month lies between the second half of April And The First Half Of May.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Indian national calendar</span> A solar calendar used in India

The Indian national calendar, sometimes called the Saka calendar, is a solar calendar that is used alongside the Gregorian calendar by The Gazette of India, in news broadcasts by All India Radio, and in calendars and official communications issued by the Government of India. Shaka Samvat is generally 78 years behind of Gregorian Calendar, except during January to March, when it is behind by 77 years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tamil calendar</span> Sidereal Hindu calendar used by the Tamil people

The Tamil calendar is a sidereal solar calendar used by the Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It is also used in Puducherry, and by the Tamil population in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, and Mauritius.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shaka era</span> Hindu calendar era

The Shaka era is a historical Hindu calendar era, the epoch of which corresponds to Julian year 78.

The Vira Nirvana Samvat (era) is a calendar era beginning on 7 October 527 BCE. It commemorates the Nirvana of Lord Mahaviraswami, the 24th Jain Tirthankara. This is the oldest system of chronological reckoning which is still used in India.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vikramaditya</span> Legendary emperor of Ujjain, India

Vikramaditya was a legendary king who has been featured in hundreds of traditional stories including those in Baital Pachisi and Singhasan Battisi. Many describe him as ruler with his capital at Ujjain. The term Vikramaditya is also used as a title by several Hindu monarchs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nepal Sambat</span> Nepalese Traditional Calendar

Nepal Sambat, also spelled as Nepala Sambata, is the lunisolar calendar used by the Newari people of Nepal. The Calendar era began on 20 October 879 AD, with 1142 in Nepal Sambat corresponding to the year 2021–2022 AD. Nepal Sambat appeared on coins, stone and copper plate inscriptions, royal decrees, chronicles, Hindu and Buddhist manuscripts, legal documents and correspondence. Nepal Sambat is declared a national calendar in Nepal, is used mostly by the Newar community whilst Bikram Sambat (B.S) also remains a dominant calendar throughout the country.

There are numerous days throughout the year celebrated as New Year's Day in the different regions of India. The observance is determined by whether the lunar calendar is being followed or the solar calendar. Those regions which follow the Solar calendar, the new year falls on Baisakhi in Bangladesh, Rongali Bihu in Assam, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Vishu in Kerala, Pana Sankranti or Odia Nababarsa in Odisha and Poila Boishakh in Bengal in the month of the calendar, i.e., Vaishakha. Generally, this day falls during 14th or 15th of the month of April. Those following Lunar calendar consider the month of Chaitra as the first month of the year, so the new year is celebrated on the first day of this month like Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Gudhi Padwa in Maharashtra. Similarly, few regions in India consider the period between consecutive Sankarantis as one month and few others take the period between consecutive Purnimas as a month. In Gujarat the new year is celebrated as the day after Diwali. As per the Hindu Calendar, it falls on Shukla Paksha Pratipada in the Hindu month of Kartik. As per the Indian Calendar based on Lunar Cycle, Kartik is the first month of the year and the New Year in Gujarat falls on the first bright day of Kartik (Ekam). In other parts of India, New Year Celebrations begin in the spring.

Paksha refers to a fortnight or a lunar phase in a month of the Hindu lunar calendar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Civil calendar</span> Calendar used within a country for civil, official, or administrative purposes

The civil calendar is the calendar, or possibly one of several calendars, used within a country for civil, official, or administrative purposes. The civil calendar is almost always used for general purposes by people and private organizations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bengali calendars</span>

The Bengali Calendar or Bangla Calendar, colloquially, is a 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ghimire</span> Surname list

Ghimire is one of the surnames of the Brahmin varna belonging to Kashyap Gotra in the Hindu Varna System. They have been living in the hilly regions of Nepal for 2000 years. The earliest known ancestor, the royal priest Gudpal Vyas, lived in Ghamir, Dhurkot, who moved from Ujjain, which was ruled by King Vikramaditya, ancient city situated on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River in the Malwa region of central India. Which is today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh, and it is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division. Research Scholar, Parashu Ram Ghimire argues that the Ghimires are the original people of Nepal, who migrated from India. These Brahmins who migrated to Musikot from Ghamir were called Ghimire later.

The Balinese saka calendar is one of two calendars used on the Indonesian island of Bali. Unlike the 210-day pawukon calendar, it is based on the phases of the Moon, and is approximately the same length as the tropical year.

Chaulā is the sixth month in the Nepal Era calendar, the national lunar calendar of Nepal. The month coincides with Chaitra (चैत्र) in the Hindu lunar calendar and April in the Gregorian calendar.

The earliest coin minted in today's territory of Nepal was in Shakya Mahajanapada, along the India–Nepal border at around 500 BCE. Shakya coins were an example of a coin invented in the Indian subcontinent which continued to be used in Nepal alongside India for over 1500 years.

Nepal uses both the DMY and YMD format when writing dates, and uses 12-hour format for time.

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Further reading