The Vikram Samvat is similar in design to the Gregorian calendar, but differs from the Hebrew calendar. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which adds days to the lunar month to adjust for the mismatch between twelve lunar cycles (354 lunar days) and nearly 365 solar days, the Vikram Samvat and Hebrew calendars maintain the integrity of the lunar month and insert an extra month every four years to ensure that festivals and crop-related rituals fall in the appropriate season. The Vikram Samvat is one of the lunisolar calendars developed by ancient human cultures. 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.
The Vikram Samvat has two systems. It began in 56 BCE in the southern Hindu calendar system (purnimanta) and 57–56 BCE in the northern system (amanta). The Shukla Paksha, when most festivals occur, coincides in both systems. The lunisolar Vikram Samvat calendar is 56.7 years ahead of the solar Gregorian calendar; the year 2075 VS began in 2018 CE, and will end in 2019 CE.
The Rana dynasty of Nepal made the Vikram Samvat the official Hindu calendar in 1901, which began as Samvat 1958. 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. The first day of the new year is celebrated in Bisket Jatra, an annual carnival in Bhaktapur. In 2007, Nepal Sambat was recognized as the national calendar.
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.