Vikram Samvat

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Vikram Samvat (Hindi, Nepali: विक्रम संवत्, IAST: Vikrama Samvat; abbreviated VS) or Bikram Sambat (Nepali, abbreviated as BS; Nepali pronunciation:  [bikɾʌm sʌmbʌt] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) and also known as the Vikrami calendar, is the historical Hindu calendar used in the Indian subcontinent. It is the official calendar of 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 AD, uses a solar tropical year.



Barnala inscription
Barnala inscription.jpg
Plaque with description of Barnala inscription
Barnala inscription 2.jpg
Barnala Yupa pillar, Rajasthan

A number of ancient and medieval inscriptions used the Vikram Samvat. Although it was reportedly named after the legendary king Vikramaditya, Samvatsara in short ‘Samvat ’is a Sanskrit term for ‘year’. King Vikramaditya of Ujjain started Vikram Samvat in 57 BC and it is believed that this calendar follows his victory over the Saka in 56 B.C.

It started in 56 BCE in southern (Amanta) and 57–56 BCE in northern (Purnimanta) systems of the Hindu calendar. The Shukla Paksha in both systems coincides, most festivals occur in the Shukla Paksha. The era is named after King Vikramaditya of India, the era was believed to be based on the commemoration of King Vikramaditya expelling the Sakas from Ujjain. According to the Pratisarga Parvan of Bhavisya Purana, he was the second son of Ujjain's King Gandharvasena of Paramara dynasty. Vikramaditya was born on 102 BC and died on 15 AD.The earliest mention of this era comes from the inscription of King Jaikadeva, who ruled near Okhamandal in Kathiawar State (now Gujarat). The inscription mentions 794 Vikram Samvat corresponding to AD 737 as the date of its installation. [3]

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 ] although it is popularly (and incorrectly) associated with the subsequent king Chandragupta Vikramaditya


The Vikram Samvat has been used by Hindus and Sikhs. [4] One of several regional Hindu calendars in use on the Indian subcontinent, it is based on twelve synodic lunar months and 365 solar days. [4] [5] The lunar year begins with the new moon of the month of Chaitra. [6] This day, known as Chaitra Sukhladi, is a restricted holiday in India. [7] [ failed verification ]

The calendar remains in use by people in Nepal and Hindus of north, west and central India. [8] In south India and portions of east and west India (such as Assam, West Bengal and Gujarat), the Indian national calendar is widely used. [9]

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. [10] 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. [4] The Bikram Sambat is the official calendar of Nepal. [11]

Calendar system

Like the Hebrew and Chinese calendars, the Vikram Samvat is lunisolar. [4] In common years, the year is 354 days long, [12] 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. [4] [5] 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. [13]

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. [9] [14] The lunisolar Vikram Samvat calendar is 56.7 years ahead of the solar Gregorian calendar; the year 2078 BS begins mid-April 2021 CE, and ends mid-April 2022 CE.

The Rana dynasty of Nepal made the Bikram Sambat the official Hindu calendar in 1901 AD, which began as 1958 BS. [15] The new year in Nepal begins with the first day of the month of Baishakh, which usually falls around 13–15 April in the Gregorian calendar and ends with the last day of the month Chaitra. 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. [16]

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). [23]

Lunar metrics


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 2021, it is 2078 BS in the BS calendar. The names of months in the Vikram Samvat in Sanskrit and Nepali, [25] [26] with their roughly corresponding Gregorian months, respectively are:

Vikram Samvat monthsGregorian months
Vaiśākha or BaisakhApril–May
Jyaiṣṭha or JesthaMay–June
Asādha or AsarJune–July
Srāvana or SawanJuly–August
Bhādrapada or Bhadra or BhadauAugust–September
Asvinā or AsojSeptember–October
Kārtikā or KartikOctober–November
Agrahāyaṇa or MangsirNovember–December
Pauṣa or PaushDecember–January
Māgha or MaghJanuary–February
Phālguna or FalgunFebruary–March
Chaitra or ChaitMarch–April

See also

Related Research Articles

The Hindu calendar or Panchang, or Panjika, 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. Of the various regional calendars, the most studied and known Hindu calendars are the Shalivahana Shaka found in the Deccan region of Southern India, Vikram Samvat (Bikrami) found in Nepal, North and Central regions of India – all of which emphasize the lunar cycle. Their new year starts in spring. In contrast, in regions such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the solar cycle is emphasized and this is called the Tamil Calendar and Malayalam calendar, their new year starts in autumn, 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.

<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.


Chaitra is a month of the Hindu calendar.

Vaisakha is a month of the Hindu calendar that corresponds to April/May in the Gregorian Calendar. In 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. Regional calendars used in the Indian subcontinent have two aspects: lunar and solar. Lunar months begin with Chaitra and solar months start with Vaisakha Sankranti. However, regional calendars mark when the official new year is celebrated. In regions such as Maharashtra which begin the official new year with the commencement of the lunar year, the solar year is marked by celebrating Vaisakha Sankranti. Conversely, regions starting the new year with Vaisakha Sankranti, give prominence to the start of the lunar year in Chaitra. In Vedic calendar, it is called Madhav and in Vaishnav calendar, it is called Madhushudan month.

Jyeshtha or Jyēṣṭha is a month of the Hindu calendar. In India's national civil calendar, Jyestha is the third month of the year. Known as Joishtho in Bengali, it is the second month of the Bengali calendar.

Ashadha or Aashaadha or Aadi is a month of the Hindu calendar that corresponds to June/July in the Gregorian calendar. In India's national civil calendar, this month is the fourth month of the year, beginning on 22 June and ending on 22 July. In Vedic Jyotish, Āsāṛh begins with the Sun's entry into Gemini. It is the first of the two months that comprise the monsoon season.

Indian national calendar A calendar used in India

The Indian national calendar, sometimes called the Shalivahana Shaka calendar, 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.

Shaka era

The Shaka era or Shalivahana Śaka is a historical calendar era, the epoch of which corresponds to Julian year 78. It is commonly known in Indian languages as Shalivahana Śaka or in RTGS Mahasakkarat and continues to be used in traditional calendars.

Amavasya Last day of the dark lunar fortnight

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.

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 one of the oldest system of chronological reckoning which is still used in India.

Nepal Sambat Nepalese Traditional Calendar

Nepal Sambat is the lunar calendar used by the people of Nepal. The Calendar era began on 20 October 879 AD, with 1141 in Nepal Sambat corresponding to the year 2020–2021 AD. Nepal Sambat appeared on coins, stone and copper plate inscriptions, royal decrees, chronicles, Hindu and Buddhist manuscripts, legal documents and correspondence. Though Nepal Sambat is declared a national calendar and is used widely in Nepal, it is mostly used by the Newar community whereas Bikram Sambat (B.S) remains the dominant calendar throughout the country. All the major festivals are based on Bikram Sambat along with official purposes.

There are numerous days throughout the year celebrated as New Year's Day in the different regions of India. 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 North and Central India, 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 Gudi 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.

Kartik (month)

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

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

Civil calendar 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.

Dwadashi is the twelfth lunar day (Tithi) of the shukla (bright) or krishna (dark) fortnight, or Paksha, of every lunar month in the Hindu calendar.

Bengali calendars

The Bengali Calendar or Bangla Calendar, colloquially, 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.

Ghimire 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.

Public offices and most private businesses in Nepal operate six days a week and only close on Saturdays. International organizations have their own rules, and normally close on Saturdays and Sundays. Government holidays for the upcoming calendar year are published in Nepal Gazette. Nepal celebrates a number of religious and non-religious holidays. On most of these holidays, most government offices and private institutions are closed, although is not mandatory for privately owned businesses to close and international organizations may operate their own calendar.

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


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Further reading