Hindu calendar

A page from the Hindu calendar 1871-72

Hindu calendar is a collective name for most of the luni-sidereal calendars and sidereal calendars traditionally used in Hinduism.

The Hindu calendars have undergone many changes in the process of regionalisation. Some of the more prominent national and regional Hindu calendars include the official Nepali calendar in the himalayan country Nepal and in India Punjabi calendar, Bengali calendar, Odia calendar, Malayalam calendar, Kannada panchanga, Tulu calendar, Tamil calendar, Vikrama Samvat and Shalivahana calendar in the Deccan states of Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. [1]

The common feature of many regional Hindu calendars is that the names of the twelve months are the same. The month which starts the year also varies from region to region.

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.

Most of the Hindu calendars derived from Gupta era astronomy as developed 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).

Differences and regional variations abound in these computations, but the following is a general overview of the Hindu lunisolar calendar.

The Indian national calendar or "Saka calendar" was introduced in 1957 based on the traditional Hindu calendars.

Day

In the Hindu calendar, the day is the time between sunrises. Days in the month are numbered according to the lunar angle (tithi, see below); as a result, day numbers can be skipped.

There are five "concepts" (aṅgas). They are:

  1. the phase ( tithi, 130 synodic month), about 6364 days.
  2. the weekday (vāsara, vāra), such as ravi-vāra, somā-vāra, etc. Weeks are 7 days long.
  3. the mansion ( nakṣatra 1/27 condical month), about 251/27 hours.
  4. the yoga (127 synodic month).
  5. the half phase (karaṇa, 160 synodic month).

Together 5 limbs or properties are called the pañcāṅgas ( Sanskrit: pañca = five). An explanation of the terms follows.

The nakṣatra, yoga, and karaṇa are used for astrological and religious purposes.

Phase/Tithi

Phase or tithi refers to 130 synodic month, which corresponds to 12 ° longitudinal angle between the Moon and the Sun. The length of a phase varies from approximately 19 to approximately 26 hours. [2]

The phase decides the date of the day, from the sunrise occurring within the phase. If the there are two sunrises in a phase, the second day is an extra day. If there is no sunrise in a phase, the phase is a vacant date.

Weekday/Vāsara

Vāsara refers to the weekdays and the names of the week in many western cultures bear striking similarities with the Vāsara:

No. Sanskrit name of the day
(Day begins at sunrise)
Nepali name Hindi name Bhojpuri name Punjabi name Bengali name Marathi name Odia name Kannada name Telugu name Tamil name Malayalam name Gujarati name English & Latin names of the approximate day
(Day begins at 00:00Hrs)
Celestial object
1 Ravivāsara
रविवासर or
Bhanu vāsara
भानू वासर
Aaitabar
आइतवार
Ravivār
रविवार
Aitwār
एतवार
Aitvār
ਐਤਵਾਰ
Rôbibār
রবিবার
Ravivār
रविवार
Rabibāra
ରବିବାର
Bhānuvāra
ಭಾನುವಾರ
Ādivāraṁ
ఆదివారం
Nyayiru
ஞாயிறு
Njaayar
ഞായർ
Ravivār
રવિવાર
Sunday/dies Solis Ravi, Aditya = Sun
2 Somavāsara
सोमवासर
Sombar
सोमवार
Somavār
सोमवार
Somār
सोमार
Somavār
ਸੋਮਵਾਰ
Shombār
সোমবার
Somavār
सोमवार
Somabāra
ସୋମବାର
Sōmavāra
ಸೋಮವಾರ
Sōmavāraṁ
సోమవారం
Thingal
திங்கள்
Thinkal
തിങ്കൾ
Sōmavār
સોમવાર
Monday/dies Lunae Soma = Moon
3 Maṅgalavāsara
मंगलवासर
Mangalbar
मंगलवार
Maṅgalavār
मंगलवार
Mangar
मंगर
Maṅgalavār
ਮੰਗਲਵਾਰ
Môngôlbār
মঙ্গলবার
Maṅgaḷavār
मंगळवार
Maṅgaḷabāra
ମଙ୍ଗଳବାର
Maṁgaḷavāra
ಮಂಗಳವಾರ
Maṁgaḷavāraṁ
మంగళవారం
Chevvai
செவ்வாய்
Chovva
ചൊവ്വ
Maṅgaḷavār
મંગળવાર
Tuesday/dies Martis Maṅgala = Mars
4 Budhavāsara
बुधवासर
Budhabar
बुधवार
Budhavāra
बुधवार
Buddh
बुध
Buddhavār
ਬੁੱਧਵਾਰ
Budhbār
বুধবার
Budhavār
बुधवार
Budhabāra
ବୁଧବାର
Budhavāra
ಬುಧವಾರ
Budhavāraṁ
బుధవారం
Arivan (Tamil tradition)
அறிவன்
Budhan
ബുധൻ
Budhavār
બુધવાર
Wednesday/dies Mercurii Budha = Mercury
5 Guruvāsara
गुरुवासर
or
Brhaspati vāsara
बृहस्पतिवासर
Bihibar
बिहिवार
Guruvār
गुरुवार
Bi'phey
बियफे
Vīravār
ਵੀਰਵਾਰ
Brihôshpôtibār
বৃহস্পতিবার
Guruvār
गुरुवार
Gurubāra
ଗୁରୁବାର
Guruvāra
ಗುರುವಾರ
Guruvāraṁ, Br̥haspativāraṁ
గురువారం, బృహస్పతివారం, లక్ష్మీవారం
Vyazhan
வியாழன்
Vyaazham
വ്യാഴം
Guruvār
ગુરુવાર
Thursday/dies Iovis Deva-Guru Bṛhaspati = Jupiter
6 Śukravāsara
शुक्रवासर
Sukrabar
शुक्रवार
Śukravār
शुक्रवार
Sukkar
सुक्कर
Śukkaravār
ਸ਼ੁੱਕਰਵਾਰ
Shukrôbār
শুক্রবার
Śukravār
शुक्रवार
Śukrabāra
ଶୁକ୍ରବାର
Śukravāra
ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ
Śukravāraṁ
శుక్రవారం
Velli
வெள்ளி்
Velli
വെള്ളി
Śukravār
શુક્રવાર
Friday/dies Veneris Śukra = Venus
7 Śanivāsara
शनिवासर
Sanibar
शनिवार
Śanivār
शनिवार
Sanichchar
सनिच्चर
Śanīvār
ਸ਼ਨੀਵਾਰ
Chhanicchharavār
ਛਨਿੱਚਰਵਾਰ
Shônibār
শনিবার
Śanivār
शनिवार
Śanibāra
ଶନିବାର
Śanivāra
ಶನಿವಾರ
Śanivāraṁ
శనివారం
Kaari (Tamil tradition)
காரி
Shani
ശനി
Śanivār
શનિવાર
Saturday/dies Saturnis Śani = Saturn

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.

Naksatra

The ecliptic is divided into 27 Nakṣatras, which are variously called lunar houses or asterisms. These reflect the moon's cycle against the fixed stars, 27 days and 7¾ hours, the fractional part being compensated for by an intercalary 28th nakṣatra titled Abhijit. Nakṣatra's computation appears to have been well known at the time of the Rigveda (2nd–1st millennium BC).

The ecliptic is divided into the nakṣatras eastwards starting from a reference point which is traditionally a point on the ecliptic directly opposite the star Spica called Citrā in Sanskrit. (Other slightly different definitions exist). It is called Meṣādi - "start of Aries"; this is when the equinox — where the ecliptic meets the equator — was in Aries (today it is in Pisces, 28 degrees before Aries starts). The difference between Meṣādi and the present equinox is known as Ayanāṃśa - denoting by how much of a fraction of degrees & minutes the ecliptic has progressed from its fixed (sidereal) position. Given the 25,800 year cycle for the precession of the equinoxes, the equinox was directly opposite Spica in AD 285, around the date of the Sūrya Siddhānta. [3] [4]

The nakṣatras with their corresponding regions of sky are given below, following Basham. [5] As always, there are many versions with minor differences. The names on the right-hand column give roughly the correspondence of the nakṣatras to modern names of stars. Note that nakṣatras are (in this context) not just single stars but are segments on the ecliptic characterised by one or more stars. Hence more than one star is mentioned for each nakṣatra.

# Sanskrit/ Nepali/ Hindi Bengali name
নক্ষত্র
Malayalam name
മലയാളം
Tamil name
தமிழ்
Telugu name
తెలుగు
Kannada name
ಕನ್ನಡ
Western star name
1 Aśvinī
अश्विनी
Aśvinī
অশ্বিনী
Ashvati
അശ്വതി
Aswini
அஸ்வினி
Aśvinī
అశ్విని
Aśvinī
ಅಶ್ವಿನಿ
β and γ Arietis
2 Bharanī
भरणी
Bharanī
ভরণী
Bharani
ഭരണി
Barani
பரணி
Bharani
భరణి
Bharani
ಭರಣಿ
35, 39, and 41 Arietis
3 Krttikā
कृत्तिका
Krittikā
কৃত্তিকা
Kārttika
കാർത്തിക
Kārthikai
கார்த்திகை
Krittika
కృత్తిక
Kruthike
ಕೃತಿಕೆ
Pleiades
4 Rohinī
रोहिणी
Rohinī
রোহিণী
Rōhini
രോഹിണി
Rōhini
ரோகிணி
Rōhini
రోహిణి
Rōhini
ರೋಹಿಣಿ
Aldebaran
5 Mrigaśirṣa
मृगशिर्ष - this is also a month in Marathi calendar
Mrigaśiras
মৃগশিরা
Makayiram
മകയിരം
Mirugasīridam
மிருகசீரிடம்
Mrigaśira
మృగశిర
Mrigaśira
ಮೃಗಶಿರ
λ, φ Orionis
6 Ārdrā
आद्रा
Ārdrā
আর্দ্রা
Ātira or Tiruvātira
ആതിര (തിരുവാതിര)
Thiruvādhirai
திருவாதிரை
Arudra
ఆరుద్ర
Aridra
ಆರಿದ್ರ
Betelgeuse
7 Punarvasu
पुनर्वसु
Punarvasu
পুনর্বসু
Punartam
പുണർതം
Punarpoosam
புனர்பூசம்
Punarvasu
పునర్వసు
Punarvasu
ಪುನರ್ವಸು
Castor and Pollux
8 Pushya
पुष्य
Pushya
পুষ্যা (তিষ্যা)
Pūyam
പൂയം
Poosam
பூசம்
Puṣyami
పుష్యమి
Puṣya
ಪುಷ್ಯ
γ, δ and θ Cancri
9 Aśleshā
आश्ळेषा / आश्लेषा
Aśleshā
অশ্লেষা
Āyilyam
ആയില്യം
Ayilyam
ஆயில்யம்
Aślesha
ఆశ్లేష
Aślesha
ಆಶ್ಲೇಷ
δ, ε, η, ρ, and σ Hydrae
10 Maghā
मघा
Maghā
মঘা
Makam
മകം
Magam
மகம்
Makha or Magha
మఖ or మాఘ
Makha
ಮಖ
Regulus
11 Pūrva or Pūrva Phalguṇī
पूर्व फाल्गुनी
Pūrva or Pūrva Phalguṇī
পূর্ব ফল্গুনী
Pūram
പൂരം
Pooram
பூரம்
Pūrva Phalguṇī or Pubba
పూర్వా ఫల్గుణి or పుబ్బ
Pubba
ಪುಬ್ಬ
δ and θ Leonis
12 Uttara or Uttara Phalguṇī
उत्तर फाल्गुनी
Uttara or Uttara Phalguṇī
উত্তর ফল্গুনী
Utram
ഉത്രം
Uthiram
உத்திரம்
Uttara Phalguṇi or Uttara
ఉత్తర ఫల్గుణి or ఉత్తర
Utthara
ಉತ್ತರ
Denebola
13 Hasta
हस्त
Hasta
হস্তা
Attam
അത്തം
Astham
அஸ்தம்
Hasta
హస్త
Hasta
ಹಸ್ತ
α, β, γ, δ and ε Corvi
14 Citrā
चित्रा14
Citrā
চিত্রা
Chittira (Chitra)
ചിത്തിര (ചിത്ര)
Chithirai
சித்திரை
Chittā or Chitrā
చిత్తా or చిత్రా
Chitta
ಚಿತ್ತ
Spica
15 Svāti
स्वाति
Svāti
স্বাতী
Chōti
ചോതി
Swathi
சுவாதி
Svāti
స్వాతి
Svāti
ಸ್ವಾತಿ
Arcturus
16 Viśākha
विशाखा
Viśākha
বিশাখা
Vishākham
വിശാഖം
Visakam
விசாகம்
Viśākha
విశాఖ
Viśākhe
ವಿಶಾಖೆ
α, β, γ and ι Librae
17 Anurādhā
अनुराधा
Anurādhā
অনুরাধা
Anizham
അനിഴം
Anusham
அனுஷம்
Anurādhā
అనూరాధ
Anurādhā
ಅನುರಾಧ
β, δ and π Scorpionis
18 Jyeṣṭha
ज्येष्ठा
Jyeṣṭha
জ্যেষ্ঠা
Kēṭṭa (Trikkēṭṭa)
കേട്ട (തൃക്കേട്ട)
Kettai
கேட்டை
Jyeṣṭha
జ్యేష్ఠ
Jyeṣṭha
ಜ್ಯೇಷ್ಠ
α, σ, and τ Scorpionis
19 Mūla
मूल/मूळ
Mūla
মূলা
Mūlam
മൂലം
Mūlam
மூலம்
Mūla
మూల
Mūla
ಮೂಲ
ε, ζ, η, θ, ι, κ, λ, μ and ν Scorpionis
20 Pūrvāṣāḍha
पूर्वाषाढा
Pūrvāṣāḍha
পূর্বাষাঢ়া
Pūrāṭam
പൂരാടം
Pūradam
பூராடம்
Pūrvāṣāḍha
పూర్వాషాఢ
Pūrvāṣāḍha
ಪೂರ್ವಾಷಾಢ
δ and ε Sagittarii
21 Uttarāṣāḍha
उत्तराषाढा
Uttarāṣāḍha
উত্তরাষাঢ়া
Utrāṭam
ഉത്രാടം
Uthirādam
உத்திராடம்
Uttarāṣāḍha
ఉత్తరాషాఢ
Uttarāṣāḍha
ಉತ್ತರಾಷಾಢ
ζ and σ Sagittarii
22 Śravaṇa
श्रवण
Śravaṇa
শ্রবণা
Tiruvōnam
ഓണം (തിരുവോണം)
Tiruvōnam
திருவோணம்
Śravaṇaṁ
శ్రవణం
Śravaṇa
ಶ್ರವಣ
α, β and γ Aquilae
23 Śraviṣṭhā or Dhaniṣṭha
श्रविष्ठा or धनिष्ठा
Śraviṣṭhā or Dhaniṣṭha
ধনিষ্ঠা (শ্রবিষ্ঠা)
Aviṭṭam
അവിട്ടം
Aviṭṭam
அவிட்டம்
Dhaniṣṭha
ధనిష్ఠ
Dhaniṣṭha
ಧನಿಷ್ಠ
α to δ Delphinus
24 Śatabhiṣak or Śatatārakā
शतभिषक् / शततारका
Śatabhiṣak or Śatatārakā
শতভিষা
Chatayam
ചതയം
Sadayam
சதயம்
Śatabhiṣaṁ
శతభిషం
Śatabhiṣa
ಶತಭಿಷ
γ Aquarii
25 Pūrva Bhādrapadā
पूर्वभाद्रपदा / पूर्वप्रोष्ठपदा
Pūrva Bhādrapadā
পূর্ব ভাদ্রপদ
Pūruruṭṭāti
പൂരുരുട്ടാതി
Pūraṭṭādhi
பூரட்டாதி
Pūrvābhādra
పూర్వాభాద్ర
Pūrvābhādra
ಪೂರ್ವಾ ಭಾದ್ರ
α and β Pegasi
26 Uttara Bhādrapadā
उत्तरभाद्रपदा / उत्तरप्रोष्ठपदा
Uttara Bhādrapadā
উত্তর ভাদ্রপদ
Uttṛṭṭāti
ഉത്രട്ടാതി
Uttṛṭṭādhi
உத்திரட்டாதி
Uttarābhādra
ఉత్తరాభాద్ర
Uttarābhādra
ಉತ್ತರಾ ಭಾದ್ರ
γ Pegasi and α Andromedae
27 Revatī
रेवती
Revatī
রেবতী
Rēvati
രേവതി
Rēvathi
ரேவதி
Rēvati
రేవతి
Rēvati
ರೇವತಿ
ζ Piscium

Yoga

The Sanskrit word Yoga means "union", but in astronomical calculations it is used in the sense of "alignment". First one computes the angular distance along the ecliptic of each object, taking the ecliptic to start at Meṣa or Aries (Meṣādi, as defined above): this is called the longitude of that object. 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. Dhṛti
  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.

Karaṇa

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: [6]

  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.