Hindu Calendar

original hindu calendarThe date time keeping system of the Hindu Society dates back to thousands of years, much before the word “Calendar” even came into existence. It was predominantly known as “Panchang”. With every turn of the bifurcation of this religion, the original system changed as well. The calendar became more regional and hence now there is existence of more than one version of this epic notifier. Now the south Indian Tamil society more profusely use “Panchangam” as their primary Calendar whereas the North Indian Gujrati / Marwari Society use a different version of “Panchang”, which both are basically a modified version of the original Hindu Calendar.

Update March 2013: A very updated Android App has been released for people who are looking for correct and up to date Hindu Calendar Information. Click this link to get the app from the official Google Play Store.

Hindu Calendar History

“Lagadha” laid down the initial framing architecture of the primitive Calendar, from the Indian text Vedanga Jyotish. This text describes the motion tracking of the planets, the sun and the moon and combines them to procure the fruitful, highly accurate Hindu calendar. It has always been a matter of controversy of whether the Greeks were the one who invented the ancient astronomical conceptualization or the Indians were the one who already had this predominant knowledge but hid it from the masses and limited it to their highest level of priests and mathematicians.  Let this not be discussed here for now.

The rigid yet intellectual Jyotishashastra, Langadha has its principles laid down on the basis of two Vedas. These are forty-five verse excerpt related to Yajur-Veda and thirty-six verses related to Rig-Veda.

With the wheel of time, many crucial modifications were carried out and hence it reformed the earlier ancient design to the modern Hindu calendar system. Notably standardization was carried out during Surya sidhant (III rd Century Common Era), passed onto for reformation from Aryabhata (499 Common Era) later Varaamihira around sixth century and finalized structure was prepared by Bhaskar during twelfth century. Whatever modification was done, the basic calculation settings still remained the same which still follows the transition of sun and other associated planets.

Overview of Hindu Calendar

The main aspect of Hindu calendar is founded by five “Angas”. These “Angas” lay the basic foundation for the birth of Hindu calendar. They are:

1. “Tithi” – Explained below
2. “Vaar” – English translation weekdays (Monday, Tuesday … Sunday)
3. “Nakshatra”: The Moon’s Position in the celestial ecliptic (There are 27 variance in total)
4. “Yog” or “Yoga” – The alignment of the Moon and Sun during Sunrise (There are 27 variance in total)
5.  ”Karana” – In simple words it is just half of “Tithi”

These Five “Angas” are called Panchangam which in Sanskrit means five (pancha).  Complete explanation to these five angas is provided below:

TITHI

It can be termed as Vedic Hour glass but here the calculations are considered way ahead of nano seconds. It is more detailed and more specific than any other civilization has ever devised or seen. In terms of mathematics, it can be said as the longitudinal angle formed between Sun and Moon.
1 Tithi = time taken for the angle to step-up by twelve degrees (12°) between the sun and the moon. They start from variant time lines of the day and can differ as 19 to 26 hours approximately.
The Naming system of the 30 different tithes is stated below:

Sl No

Paksha

Ruling Deity

Suitable Works and Ceremonies

Shukla Paksha(Shining FortNight) Krishna Paksha(Fading FortNight)
1 Pratipad Pratipad Agni This time is good for all types for ceremonies.
2 Dvitiyah Dvitiyah Brahma Lay foundations for long term engagements.
3 Tritiyah Tritiyah Gauri Cutting Hair, Manicures and Pedicures.
4 Chaturthi Chaturthi Ganesh Take down enemies and remove obstacles.
5 Panchami Panchami Naag Medicine & Surgererical engagements
6 Shashthi Shashthi Kartik Socializing and making merry
7 Saptami Saptami Surya Start journey or Buying New vehicles
8 Asthami Asthami Rudra Buying Arms and building Defense
9 Navami Navami Ambika Killing Enemies and Destructing Anything
10 Dashami Dashami Dharmraaj Religious Functions and Spiritual lounge
11 Ekadashi Ekadashi Rudra Best time for fasting and paying tributes
12 Dvadashi Dvadashi Vishnu Best time for carrying out yagyas and bhajans
13 Treyodashi Treyodashi kaamDev Friendship and sensual pleasures
14 Chaturdashi Chaturdashi Kaali Alchemy and poison and spirit call
15 Poornima(The Full Moon) Amavashya(The New Moon) Moon // Pitru Fire Sacrifices // Repent wrongdoings by offering peace and apologies

VAAR

“Vaar” or “Vaasara” signifies the different days in the week. The greatest irony of the names is that, they resemble drastically similar in pronunciation with respect to many other cultures across the globe.

Sl No

Sanskrit Name

Solar System

Body

Related to:

English / Sanskrit

Names of the days

English

Latin

1

Somvaar

Moon / Shom

Monday

Dies

Lunae

2

Magalvaar

Mars / Mangal

Tuesday

Dies

Martis

3

Budhvaar

Mercury / Budh

Wednesday

Dies

Mercurii

4

Brishaspativaar

Jupiter / Guru

Thursday

Dies

Lovis

5

Shukravaar

Venus / Shukra

Friday

Dies

Vaneris

6

Shanivaar

Saturn / Shani

Saturday

Dies

Saturnis

7

Ravivaar

Sun /Ravi

Sunday

Dies

Solic

NAKSHATRA

Before you start with Nakshatra, you should know what Asterism is. Asterism is the pattern of stars visible in the night sky. It may comprise of one or more constellations or may be a combination of stars bundled together to form a distinctive pattern. So now we can say that there are 27 Nakshatra that comprises the Ecliptic. Theses are calculated as moon circles against a fixed star [....which is 27 days 7.75 hours].  These calculations are mentioned profusely in Rig-Veda and they are very advanced in compare to what we know now, with Modern Day Science.

The Eclectic is divided into 27 Nakshatra moving on from east to west in the sky. The Nakshatra can be a single start or a collection of stars. To be more specific these are lines quoted from internet open site:

 Excerpt from Wiki Nakshatra

Source: Internet Free Search

After great effort, the following information has been put together for your complete reference of Nakshatra and their symbol, deity, Sanskrit Names and Niche Zodiac Division of both Indian and western systems.

Sl No

Sanskrit

Name

Deity

Name

Symbol

Presiding

Lord

RaashiZodiacDivision( Indian System )

Zodiac Degree of Occupancy

For Each Nakshatra

RaashiZodiacDivision( Western System )

Indian

Western

From

Till

From

Till

1 Ashvini Aswins Horse head Ketu Mesh 13°20′ 26° 9°20′ Aries / Taurus
2 Bharani Yamraaj Shukra Mesh 13° 20’ 26°40′ 9°20′ 22° 40′ Taurus
3 Krittika Agni Knife/ Spear Ravi Mesh / Vrishabh 26°40′ 10° 22° 40′ Taurus / Gemini
4 Rohini Brahma Temple Chandra Vrishabh 10° 23°20′ 19°20′ Gemini
5 Mrigashirsha Chandra Head of Dear Mangal Vrishabh / Mithuna 23° 20′ 6° 40′ 19°20′ 2°40′ Gemini /  Cancer
6 Aardra Rudra Head of human Rahu Mithuna 6° 40′ 20° 2° 40′ 16° Cancer
7 Punarvasu Aditi Quiver & Bow Brihaspati Mithuna / karka 20° 3°20′ 16° 29°20′ Cancer
8 Pushya Brihaspati Lotus Shani karka 3°20′ 16°40′ 29°20′ 12°40′ Cancer / Leo
9 Ashlesha Sarpa A Serpent Budh karka 16°40′ 30° 12°40′ 26° Leo
10 Magha Pitri Throne Ketu Simha 13°20′ 26° 9°20′ Leo / Virgo
11 Purva Falguni Shiva Four Bed legs Shukra Simha 13° 20’ 26°40′ 9°20′ 22° 40′ Virgo
12 Uttar Falguni Aryaman Four Bed legs Ravi Simha /  Kanya 26°40′ 10° 22° 40′ Virgo /  Libra
13 Hasta Surya Hand Chandra Kanya 10° 23°20′ 19°20′ Libra
14 Chitra Vishwakarma Pearl Mangal Kanya / Tula 23° 20′ 6° 40′ 19°20′ 2°40′ Libra /  Scorpio
15 Swati Vaayu Coral Rahu Tula 6° 40′ 20° 2° 40′ 16° Scorpio
16 Vishakha Indra Wheel of Potter Brihaspati Tula/  Vrishchik 20° 3°20′ 16° 29°20′ Scorpio
17 Anuradha Mitra Lotus Shani Vrishchik 3°20′ 16°40′ 29°20′ 12°40′ Scorpio /  Sagittarius
18 Jyestha Indra Umbrella Budh Vrishchik 16°40′ 30° 12°40′ 26° Sagittarius
19 Moola Nirriti Roots clinched together Ketu Dhanu 13°20′ 26° 9°20′ Sagittarius /  Capricorn
20 Purva Ashadha Varun Tusk of an Elephant Shukra Dhanu 13° 20’ 26°40′ 9°20′ 22° 40′ Capricorn
21 Uttara Ashadha ViswaDevas Tusk of an Elephant Ravi Dhanu /  Makara 26°40′ 10° 22° 40′ Capricorn /  Aquarius
22 Shravana Vishnu Human Ear Chandra Makara 10° 23°20′ 19°20′ Aquarius
23 Dhanistha Vaasus Drum / Flute Mangal Makara /  Kumbha 23° 20′ 6° 40′ 19°20′ 2°40′ Aquarius /  Pisces
24 Shatabhisha Varun Blank Circle Rahu Kumbha 6° 40′ 20° 2° 40′ 16° Pisces
25 Purva Bhadrapda Ajikapada Man with Dual Face Brihaspati Kumbha /  Meena 20° 3°20′ 16° 29°20′ Pisces
26 Uttara Bhadrapada Ahirbudhyana Twins Shani Meena 3°20′ 16°40′ 29°20′ 12°40′ Pisces /  Aries
27 Revathi Pushan Pair of Fish Budh Meena 16°40′ 30° 12°40′ 26° Aries

Complete detailed information about Nakshatra is available here.

YOG OR YOGA

“Yog” and “Yoga” should not be confused with “Meditation Yoga”. The later one means Exercise and the previous one means conjunction or relationship with respect to each other. This is calculated by considering the “Mesh” / “Aries” to be the starting points of the eclectic and thereby it is considered as the longitude of that object. Also the longitude of both the Sun and the Moon is added after normalization to the above said (Zero to 360 degree). This total sum is thereby divided into 27 segments which individually accounts for 800′ m each (where ‘ means “arcminute” and is precisely one sixty part of a degree). These Segments are known as “Yog”or “Yoga”. They are listed in alphabetical order below:

  1. Atiganda
  2. Aayushmaan
  3. Brahma
  4. Dhriti
  5. Dhruva
  6. Ganda
  7. Harshana
  8. Mahendra
  9. Parigha
  10. Preeti
  11. Saadhya
  12. Saubhaagya
  13. Shobhana
  14. Shiva
  15. Shubha
  16. Shukla
  17. Siddha
  18. Siddhi
  19. Sukarman
  20. Shoola
  21. Vaidhriti
  22. Vajra
  23. Varigha
  24. Vishkumbha
  25. Vriddhi
  26. Vyaaghata
  27. Vyatipaata

There may be little or very minor differences during the transition from one Yog to another but apart from that it’s effective during the dawn and is known as the “Yog” for that day.

KARANA

In Simple words this is just half of “Tithi”. It is the total amount of time take by the sun to make an angular distance of 6 degrees from the moon in the ascending steps. Since there are thirty “tithis” a simple assumption would be that there should be sixty karans, but they are not.
In total there are eleven (11) karanas out of which four (4) are fixed and seven (7) are repeating.  There names are mentioned below:

Fixed Karans:

  • Catushpada
  • Kinstughna
  • Nagava
  • Shakuni

Repeating Karans:

  • Balava
  • Bhaava
  • Bhadra
  • Garajaa
  • Kaulava
  • Taitula
  • Vaanijya

The Initial first half segment of the first Tithi is always kimstughana karan and is fixed.  The repeating seven karanas iterate a total of eight times after kimstughana and hence cover up a total of fifty six (8 x 7) half Tithi. Now there are total three half tithis remaining and these occurrences are divided under the remaining three karanas respectively, which are fixed as well.
Here as well the Karana of the day is the one which is active during the dawn.

Hindu Calendar Names of Month

The complete skeleton of the calendar system is very complex and would have been very hard for an average person to remember. So for the ease of understanding the total year is divided into twelve months. They start from the new moon day to the next simultaneous new moon occurrence. The names are:

  1. Chaitra
  2. Baisakh
  3. Jyestha
  4. Aashardha
  5. Shrawan
  6. Bhadra
  7. Aashwin
  8. Kaartik
  9. Maarghshish
  10. Paush
  11. Maagh
  12. Faalgun

Again these 30/31 days (Though here the number of days in here is not always fixed) are divided into two parts. The first half is the Rise of the moon to the Full moon day (Also called Poornima) and the second half is the decline of the shine to the No moon day (Also called Amavashya). The names of the “tithis” and their significance are mentioned above.

Though many variants and different versions of this calendar have evolved since the last few eras, the main calculation and signification of these days are still all the same. The regional calendars may have some additional input of the regional festivals and add-on dates now but they still follow the ancestral calendar for all rituals starting from the day of birth of a child till the death bed he/she begets.

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