Hindu Calendar
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Hindu Calendar

A page from the Hindu calendar 1871-72

The Hindu calendar or Panchang (Sanskrit?), 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.[1] 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 (Though Tamil Calendar uses month names like in Hindu Calendar) and Malayalam calendar, their new year starts in autumn, and these have origins in the second half of the 1st millennium CE.[1][2] A Hindu calendar is sometimes referred to as Panchangam (), which is known also known as Panjika in Eastern India.[3]

The ancient Hindu calendar conceptual design is also found in the Hebrew calendar, the Chinese calendar, and the Babylonian calendar, but different from the Gregorian calendar.[4] Unlike the Gregorian calendar which adds additional days to the lunar month to adjust for the mismatch between twelve lunar cycles (354 lunar days)[5] and nearly 365 solar days, the Hindu calendar maintains the integrity of the lunar month, but inserts an extra full month by complex rules, once every 32-33 months, to ensure that the festivals and crop-related rituals fall in the appropriate season.[4][2]

The Hindu calendars have been in use in the Indian subcontinent since Vedic times, and remain in use by the Hindus all over the world, particularly to set Hindu festival dates. Early Buddhist communities of India adopted the ancient Vedic calendar, later Vikrami calendar and then local Buddhist calendars. Buddhist festivals continue to be scheduled according to a lunar system.[6] 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. Similarly, the ancient Jain traditions have followed the same lunisolar system as the Hindu calendar for festivals, texts and inscriptions. However, the Buddhist and Jain timekeeping systems have attempted to use the Buddha and the Mahavira's lifetimes as their reference points.[7][8][9]

The Hindu calendar is also important to the practice of Hindu astrology and zodiac system as well as observing special appearance days of the Lord and fasting days such as Ekadasi.


Time keeping

[The current year] minus one,
multiplied by twelve,
multiplied by two,
added to the elapsed [half months of current year],
increased by two for every sixty [in the sun],
is the quantity of half-months (syzygies).

-- Rigveda Jyotisha-vedanga 4
Translator: Kim Plofker[10]

The Vedic culture developed a sophisticated time keeping methodology and calendars for Vedic rituals,[11] and timekeeping as well as the nature of solar and moon movements are mentioned in Vedic texts.[12] For example, Kaushitaki Brahmana chapter 19.3 mentions the shift in the relative location of the sun towards north for 6 months, and south for 6 months.[13][14]

Time keeping was important to Vedic rituals, and Jyotisha was the Vedic era field of tracking and predicting the movements of astronomical bodies in order to keep time, in order to fix the day and time of these rituals.[15][16][17] This study was one of the six ancient Vedangas, or ancillary science connected with the Vedas - the scriptures of Vedic Sanatan Sanskriti.[15][16]

David Pingree has proposed that the field of timekeeping in Jyotisha may have been "derived from Mesopotamia during the Achaemenid period",[18] but Yukio Ohashi considers this proposal as "definitely wrong".[19] Ohashi states that this Vedanga field developed from actual astronomical studies in ancient Vedic Period.[20] The texts of Vedic Jyotisha sciences were translated into the Chinese language in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, and the Rigvedic passages on astronomy are found in the works of Zhu Jiangyan and Zhi Qian.[21] According to Subhash Kak, the beginning of the Hindu calendar was much earlier. He cites Greek historians describing Maurya kings referring to a calendar which originated in 6676 BCE known as Saptarsi calendar.[22]

The Vikrami calendar is named after king Vikramaditya and starts in 57 BCE.[23]


Dharmic (Hindu) scholars kept precise time by observing and calculating the cycles of Surya i.e. the sun, moon and the planets. These calculations about the sun appear in various astronomical texts in Sanskrit, such as the 5th-century Aryabhatiya by Aryabhata, the 6th-century Romaka by Latadeva and Panca Siddhantika by Varahamihira, the 7th-century Khandakhadyaka by Brahmagupta and the 8th-century Sisyadhivrddida by Lalla.[24] These texts present Surya and various planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion.[24] Other texts such as Surya Siddhanta dated to have been completed sometime between the 5th century and 10th century present their chapters on various deified planets with stories behind them.[24]

The manuscripts of these texts exist in slightly different versions. They present Surya, planet-based calculations and Surya's relative motion to earth. These vary in their data, suggesting that the text were open and revised over their lives.[25][26][27] For example, the 1st millennium CE Sanathana Dharma (Hindu) scholars calculated the sidereal length of a year as follows, from their astronomical studies, with slightly different results:[28]

Smskrth (Sanskrit) texts: How many days in a year?
Hindu text Estimated length of the sidereal year[28]
Surya Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 36.56 seconds
Paulica Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 36 seconds
Paracara Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 31.50 seconds
Arya Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 30.84 seconds
Laghu Arya Siddhanta 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 30 seconds
Siddhanta Shiromani 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 9 seconds

The Hindu texts used the lunar cycle for setting months and days, but the solar cycle to set the complete year. This system is similar to the Jewish and Babylonian ancient calendars, creating the same challenge of accounting for the mismatch between the nearly 354 lunar days in twelve months, versus nearly 365 solar days in a year.[4][29] They tracked the solar year by observing the entrance and departure of Surya (sun, at sunrise and sunset) in the constellation formed by stars in the sky, which they divided into 12 intervals of 30 degrees each.[30] Like other ancient human cultures, Hindus innovated a number of systems of which intercalary months became most used, that is adding another month every 32.5 months on average.[29] As their calendar keeping and astronomical observations became more sophisticated, the Hindu calendar became more sophisticated with complex rules and greater accuracy.[29][31][30]

According to Scott Montgomery, the Siddhanta tradition at the foundation of Hindu calendars predate the Christian era, once had 18 texts of which only 5 have survived into the modern era.[29] These texts provide specific information and formulae on motions of sun, moon and planets, to predict their future relative positions, equinoxes, rise and set, with corrections for prograde, retrograde motions, as well as parallax. These ancient scholars attempted to calculate their time to the accuracy of a truti (29.63 microseconds). In their pursuit of accurate tracking of relative movements of celestial bodies for their calendar, they had computed the mean diameter of the earth, which was very close to the actual 12,742 km (7,918 mi).[29][30]

Hindu calendars were refined during the Gupta era astronomy by ?ryabha?a and Var?hamihira in the 5th to 6th century. These, in turn, were based in the astronomical tradition of Vedga Jyoti?a, which in the preceding centuries had been standardised in a number of (non-extant) works known as S?rya Siddh?nta. Regional diversification took place in the medieval period. The astronomical foundations were further developed in the medieval period, notably by Bh?skara II (12th century).[]


Later, the term Jyotisha evolved to include Hindu astrology. The astrological application of the Hindu calendar was a field that likely developed in the centuries after the arrival of Greek astrology with Alexander the Great,[20][32][33] because their zodiac signs are nearly identical.[16][34]

The ancient Hindu texts on Jyotisha only discuss timekeeping, and never mention astrology or prophecy.[35] These ancient texts predominantly cover astronomy, but at a rudimentary level.[17] Later medieval era texts such as the Yavana-jataka and the Siddhanta texts are more astrology-related.[36]

Balinese Hindu calendar

Hinduism and Buddhism were the prominent religions of southeast Asia in the 1st millennium CE, prior to the Islamic conquest that started in the 14th century. The Hindus prevailed in Bali, Indonesia, and they have two types of Hindu calendar. One is a 210-day based Pawukon calendar which likely is a pre-Hindu system, and another is similar to lunisolar calendar system found in South India and it is called the Balinese saka calendar which uses Hindu methodology.[37] The names of month and festivals of Balinese Hindus, for the most part, are different, though the significance and legends have some overlap.[37]

Year: Samvat

Samvat refers to era of the several Hindu calendar systems in Nepal and India, in a similar manner to the Christian era. There are several samvat found in historic Buddhist, Hindu and Jaina texts and epigraphy, of which three are most significant: Vikrama era, Old Shaka era and Shaka era of 78 AD.[38]

The Hindu calendar saka samvat system is found in Indonesian inscriptions, such as the Kedukan Bukit inscription (pictured above) dated to 604 ?aka, which is equivalent to 682 CE.[39][40]
  • Vikram Samvat (Bikram Sambat): A northern Indian almanac which started in 57 BCE, and is also called the Vikrama Era. It is related to the Bikrami calendar, and is apocryphally linked to Vikramaditya. The year starts from the month of Baishakh / Vaishakha. This system is common in epigraphic evidence from northern, western, central and eastern Indian subcontinent, particularly after the early centuries of the 1st millennium CE.[38]
  • Shaka Samvat: There are two Shaka era systems in scholarly use, one is called Old Shaka Era, whose epoch is uncertain, probably sometime in the 1st millennium BCE because ancient Buddhist, Jaina and Hindu inscriptions and texts use it. However, the starting point of Old Shaka Era is a subject of dispute among scholars. The second system is called Saka Era of 78 AD, or simply Saka Era, a system that is common in epigraphic evidence from southern India.[38]
  • Saka era of Southeast Asia: The Hindu calendar system in Indonesia is attributed to the legend of Hindus arriving with a sage Aji Saka in 1st-century Java, in March 78 CE.[41][42] Numerous ancient and medieval era texts and inscriptions found in Indonesian islands use this reference year.[43][44] In mainland southeast Asia, the earliest verifiable use of Hindu Saka methodology in inscriptions is marked Saka 533 in Ankor Borei, which corresponds to 611 CE, while the Kedukan Bukit inscription in Sumatra, containing three dates in Saka 604 (682 CE), is the earliest known use of the Shaka era in the Indonesian islands.[44] However, these inscriptions only set the floruit for the use of the Shaka era in these places, and the Hindu calendar likely existed in southeast Asia before these dates to be used in important monuments. Further, the Hindu calendar system remained popular among the Hindus through to the 15th century, and thereafter in Bali.[44]
  • Indian national calendar (modern): combines many Hindu calendars into one official standardized one, but old ones remain in use.[45]


The astronomical basis of the Hindu lunar day. Also illustrates Kshaya Tithi (Vaishaka-Krishna-Chaturdashi (i.e. 14th)) and Adhika Tithi (Jyeshta- Shukla-Dashami (i.e. 10th))

Amanta and Purnima systems

Two traditions have been followed in the Indian subcontinent with respect to lunar months: Amanta tradition which ends the lunar month on no moon day, while Purnimanta tradition which ends it on full moon day.[46]

The Amanta (Amavasyanta, Mukhyamana) tradition is followed by all Indian states that have a peninsular coastline (except Odisha), as well as Assam and Tripura. The states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and West Bengal. Odisha and all other states follow the Purnimanta (Gaunamana) tradition.

Purnimanta tradition was being followed in the Vedic era. It was replaced with Amanta system and in use as the Hindu calendar system prior to 1st century BCE, but the Purnimanta tradition was restarted in 57 BCE by Vikramaditya who wanted to return to the Vedic roots.[46] The presence of this system is one of the factors considered in dating ancient Indian manuscripts and epigraphical evidence that have survived into the modern era.[46][47]


A month contains two fortnights called pak?a (?, literally "side").[2] One fortnight is the bright, waxing half where the moon size grows and it ends in the full moon. This is called "Gaura Paksha" or Shukla Paksha.[48] The other half is the darkening, waning fortnight which ends in the new moon. This is called "Vadhya Paksha" or Krishna Paksha.[2] The Hindu festivals typically are either on or the day after the full moon night or the darkest night (amavasya, ), except for some associated with Krishna, Durga or Rama. The lunar months of the hot summer and the busy major cropping-related part of the monsoon season typically do not schedule major festivals.[49]

A combination of the Paksha system, and the two traditions of Amanta and Purnimanta systems, has led to alternate ways of dating any festival or event in the historic Hindu, Buddhist or Jain literature, and contemporary regional literature or festival calendars. For example, the Hindu festival of colours called Holi falls on the first day (full moon) of Chaitra lunar month's dark fortnight in the Purnimanta system, while the same exact day for Holi is expressed in Amanta system as the Purnima (full moon) lunar day of Phalguna.[31] Both time measuring and dating systems are equivalent ways of meaning the same thing, they continue to be in use in different regions, though the Purnimanta system is now typically assumed as implied in modern Indology literature if not otherwise specified.[31][30]

Solar month names

There are 12 months in the Vedic lunar calendar (Sanskrit: ). If the transits of the Sun through various constellations (Ri) are used, then we get solar months, which do not shift with reference to the Gregorian calendar. In practice, solar months are mostly referred as Ri (not months). The solar months (Ri) along with the approximate correspondence to Hindu seasons and Gregorian months are:[30]

Ri Vikrami
lunar months[31]
Sidereal signs Gregorian
?tu in Devanagari script Bengali name for ?tu Gujarati name for ?tu Kannada name for ?tu Kashmiri name for ?tu Malayalam name for ?tu Odia name for ?tu Tamil name for ?tu Telugu name for ?tu Tibetan name for ?tu Kalachakra tantra Tibetan-name for ?tu






Mid Mar-

Mid May



(Bôsôntô) ? (Vasa?ta r?tu) ? (Vasa?ta ?tu)


? (Vasa?tam) (Basanta) ? (pinpani) ? (Vasa?ta ?tuvu) (shid rawa, thang, shid warma) ? (shid ka)






Mid May-

Mid July



? ? (Grishsho) ? (Grma r?tu) ? (Grma ?tu) ?


(Grmam) ? (Gr?sma) (ilavenil) ? (Grma ?tuvu) ? (shid dama, thang, yar rawa) ?(soga)






Mid July-

Mid Sep



(Bôrsha) (Var?a r?tu) ? (Var?a ?tu)


? (Varm) (Bars?) ? (mudhuvenil) ? (Var?a ?tuvu) (yarwarma, thang, yardama) (yarka)






Mid Sep-

Mid Nov



? (Shôrôt) (?arad r?tu) (?arad?tu)


(?arat) (Sarata) ? (kaar) (?arad?tuvu) (ston rawa, thang, ston warma) (stonka)


Agrahayana (Margashirsha)




Mid Nov-

Mid Jan



(Hemôntô) (H?ma?ta r?tu) (H?ma?ta ?tu)


(Hemantam) (Hemanta) (kulir) (H?ma?ta ?tuvu) (ston da ma, thang, dgun rawa) (dgun stod)






Mid Jan-

Mid March



(?eet) (?i?ira r?tu) (?i?ira ?tu)


? (?i?iram) / (S?ta/Sisira) ? (munpani) (?i?ira ?tuvu) (dgun warma, thang, dgun dama) (dgun smad)

The names of the solar months are also used in the Darian calendar for the planet Mars.

Lunar months and approximate correspondence

The names of the Hindu months vary by region. Those Hindu calendars which are based on lunar cycle are generally phonetic variants of each other, while the solar cycle are generally variants of each other too, suggesting that the timekeeping knowledge travelled widely across the Indian subcontinent in ancient times.[1][30]

The Tamil lunar month names are forward shifted by a month compared to Vikrami month names, in part because Tamil calendar integrates greater emphasis for the solar cycle in a manner similar to the neighboring Kerala region and it follows the Amanta system for lunar months. This is in contrast to Vikrami calendar which keeps the Purnimanta system and emphasizes the lunar cycle.[50] A few major calendars are summarized below:

Calendar month names in different Hindu calendars[1]
# Vikrami
Assamese Bengali Kannada Kashmiri Malayalam Maithili Meitei (Manipuri) Odia Punjabi Sindhi Tamil Telugu Tulu Tibetan Gregorian
1 Vais?kha M?sha ?' (Böhag) (Boikh) (Vais?kha)




Medam (Baishakh) (Sajibu) (Bais?kha) ?







Vaigasi ?


Paggu April-May
2 Jyeshta Vrisha ? (Zeth) ? (Jyoisthô) ? (Jyeshta) ?


Edavam (Jeth) (Kalen) ? (Jyes?ha)






B?sha ? May-June
3 ?sh?da Mithuna ? (Ahar) (?s?dh) ? (?sh?da)


Mithunam (Asadh) (Eenga) (?s?dha)







K?rtel June-July
4 Shraavana Karka ? (Xaün) (?r?bô?) (Shr?vana) ?


Karkadakam ? (Saon) ? (Eengen) (Sr?ba?a) ?






Aa?i ? July-August
5 Bh?dra Singa / ? (Bhado) (Bh?drô) ? (Bh?drapada)







Chingam ? (Bhado) (Thouwan) (Bh?draba)









Purattasi Sona August-September
6 Ashwina Kanya ? (Ahin) (hshin) ? (?swayuja) ?


Kanni ? (Aasin) (Langban) (?swina) ?



Aippasi Kanya/Nirn?l ? September-October
7 Kartika Tula ? ? (Kati) ? (K?rtik) ? (K?rtika) ?


Tulam (Katik) ? (Mera) (K?rttika) ?



Karthigai Bontel October-November
8 M?rgasirsa
Vrischika / ? ? (Aghün) (Ôgrôh?yôn) (M?rgasira)







Vrischikam ? (Agahan) ? (Heeyangkei) (M?rgasira) ?





Margazhi ? J?rde November-December
9 Pausha Dhanus / (Puh) (Poush) (Pushya)




Dhanu (Poos) (Poinu) (Pausa)



Thai ? Perarde December-January
10 M?gha Makara (Magh) (M?gh) (Magha)


Makaram (Magh) (Wakching) (M?gha)




Maasi Puyintel January-February
11 Ph?lguna Kumbha / ? (Phagun) ? (Ph?lgun) ? (Phalguna)


Kumbham (Fagun) (Fairel) (Ph?lguna)


? (Phagu?a)




Panguni M?yi February-March
12 Chaitra Mina ?'? (Söt) (Choitrô) (Chaitra)




Minam ? (Chait) ? (Lamta) (Chaitra)



Chithirai ?


Suggi March-April

Corrections between lunar and solar months

The astronomical basis of the Hindu lunar months. Also illustrates Adhika Masa (Year 2-Bhadrapada) repeats; the first time the Sun moves entirely within Simha Rashi thus rendering it an Adhika Masa

Twelve Hindu mas (m?sa, lunar month) are equal to approximately 354 days, while the length of a sidereal (solar) year is about 365 days. This creates a difference of about eleven days, which is offset every (29.53/10.63) = 2.71 years, or approximately every 32.5 months.[29] Purushottam Maas or Adhik Maas is an extra month that is inserted to keep the lunar and solar calendars aligned. The twelve months are subdivided into six lunar seasons timed with the agriculture cycles, blooming of natural flowers, fall of leaves, and weather. To account for the mismatch between lunar and solar calendar, the Hindu scholars adopted intercalary months, where a particular month just repeated. The choice of this month was not random, but timed to sync back the two calendars to the cycle of agriculture and nature.[29][30]

The repetition of a month created the problem of scheduling festivals, weddings and other social events without repetition and confusion. This was resolved by declaring one month as Shudha (pure, clean, regular, proper, also called Deva month) and the other Mala or Adhika (extra, unclean and inauspicious, also called Asura masa).[51]

The Hindu mathematicians who calculated the best way to adjust the two years, over long periods of a yuga (era, tables calculating 1000 of years), they determined that the best means to intercalate the months is to time the intercalary months on a 19-year cycle. This intercalation is generally adopted in the 3rd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 16th and 19th year of this cycle. Further, the complex rules rule out the repetition of M?rgasirsa (also called Agrahayana), Pausha and Maagha lunar months. The historic Hindu texts are not consistent on these rules, with competing ideas flourishing in the Hindu culture.[52]

Rare corrections

The Hindu calendar makes further rare adjustments, over a cycle of centuries, where a certain month is considered kshaya month (dropped). This occurs because of the complexity of the relative lunar, solar and earth movements. Underhill (1991) describes this part of Hindu calendar theory: "when the sun is in perigee, and a lunar month being at its longest, if the new moon immediately precedes a samkranti, then the first of the two lunar months is deleted (called nija or kshaya)." This, for example, happened in the year 1 BCE, when there was no new moon between Makara samkranti and Kumbha samkranti, and the month of Pausha was dropped.[53]


Just like months, the Hindu calendar has two measures of a day, one based on the lunar movement and the other on solar. The solar day or civil day, called divasa ( ?), has been what most Hindus traditionally use, is easy and empirical to observe, with or without a clock, and it is defined as the period from one sunrise to another. The lunar day is called tithi (?), and this is based on complicated measures of lunar movement. A lunar day or tithi may, for example, begin in the middle of an afternoon and end next afternoon.[54] Both these days do not directly correspond to a mathematical measure for a day such as equal 24 hours of a solar year, a fact that the Hindu calendar scholars knew, but the system of divasa was convenient for the general population. The tithi have been the basis for timing rituals and festivals, while divasa for everyday use. The Hindu calendars adjust the mismatch in divasa and tithi, using a methodology similar to the solar and lunar months.[55]

A Tithi is technically defined in Vedic texts, states John E. Cort, as "the time required by the combined motions of the sun and moon to increase (in a bright fortnight) or decrease (in a dark fortnight) their relative distance by twelve degrees of the zodiac.[56] These motions are measured using a fixed map of celestial zodiac as reference, and given the elliptical orbits, a duration of a tithi varies between 21.5 and 26 hours, states Cort.[56] However, in the Indian tradition, the general population's practice has been to treat a tithi as a solar day between one sunrise to next.[56]

A lunar month has 30 tithi. The technical standard makes each tithi contain different number of hours, but helps the overall integrity of the calendar. Given the variation in the length of a solar day with seasons, and moon's relative movements, the start and end time for tithi varies over the seasons and over the years, and the tithi adjusted to sync with divasa periodically with intercalation.[57]


V?sara refers to the weekdays in Sanskrit.[58] Also referred to as Vara and used as a suffix.[45] The correspondence between the names of the week in Hindu and other Indo-European calendars are exact. This alignment of names probably took place sometime during the 3rd century CE.[59][60] The weekday of a Hindu calendar has been symmetrically divided into 60 ghatika, each ghatika (24 minutes) is divided into 60 pala, each pala (24 seconds) is subdivided into 60 vipala, and so on.[59]

Names of the weekdays in different languages
No. Sanskrit[59][60] Latin weekday Celestial object Assamese Bengali Bhojpuri Gujarati Hindi Kannada Kashmiri Konkani Malayalam Maithili Marathi Meitei
Nepali Odia Punjabi
(Hindus and Sikhs)[note 1]
Sindhi Sylheti Tamil Telugu Urdu Balinese Cham
1 Raviv?sara
? or
Aditya v?sara
Sunday/dies Solis Ravi, Aditya = Sun Dêûb?r/Rôbib?r






2 Somav?sara
Monday/dies Lunae Soma (deity), Chandra = Moon Xûmb?r





3 Ma?galav?sara
Tuesday/dies Martis Ma?gala = Mars Mô?ôlb?r/Mô?gôlb?r








4 Budhav?sara
? or
Saumya vasara
Wednesday/dies Mercurii Budha = Mercury Budhb?r




5 Guruv?sara

Brhaspati v?sara
Thursday/dies Iovis/Jupiter Deva-Guru B?haspati = Jupiter Brihôspôtib?r








Guruv?ra?, Br?haspativ?ra?
, ,



6 ?ukrav?sara
Friday/dies Veneris ?ukra = Venus Xukurb?r/Xukrôb?r







or Juma'a

7 ?aniv?sara
Saturday/dies Saturnis ?ani = Saturn Xônib?r









or Haftah

  1. ^ Punjabi Muslims use Urdu/Arabic words for Friday / Saturday etc.[61]

The term -v?sara is often realised as v?ra 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.

Five limbs of time

The complete Vedic calendars contain five angas or parts of information: lunar day (tithi), solar day (diwas), asterism (naksatra), planetary joining (yoga) and astronomical period (karanam). This structure gives the calendar the name Panchangam.[45] The first two are discussed above.


The Sanskrit word Yoga means "union, joining, attachment", but in astronomical context, this word means latitudinal and longitudinal information. 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. Vi?kambha
  2. Pr?ti
  3. ?yu?m?n
  4. Saubh?gya
  5. ?obhana
  6. Atigaa
  7. Sukarma
  8. Dhrti
  9. la
  10. Gaa
  11. V?ddhi
  12. Dhruva
  13. Vy?ghat?
  14. Har?a?a
  15. Vajra
  16. Siddhi
  17. Vyatip?ta
  18. Variyas
  19. Parigha
  20. ?iva
  21. Siddha
  22. S?dhya
  23. ?ubha
  24. ?ukla
  25. Brahma
  26. M?hendra
  27. Vaidh?ti

Again, minor variations may exist. The yoga that is active during sunrise of a day is the prevailing yoga for the day.


A kara?a is half of a tithi. To be precise, a kara?a 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 kara?as, therefore one would logically expect there to be 60 kara?as. But there are only 11 such kara?as which fill up those slots to accommodate for those 30 tithis. There are actually 4 "fixed" (sthira) kara?as and 7 "repeating" (cara) kara?as.

The 4

  1. ?akuni ()
  2. Catu?p?da ()
  3. N?ga ()
  4. Ki?stughna(?)

The 7 "repeating" kara?as are:[62]

  1. Vava or Bava ()
  2. Valava or B?lava (?)
  3. Kaulava (?)
  4. Taitila or Taitula ()
  5. Gara or Garaja ()
  6. Va?ija (?)
  7. Vii (Bhadra) ()
  • Now the first half of the 1st tithi (of ?ukla Pak?a) is always Ki?tughna kara?a. Hence this kara?a is "fixed".
  • Next, the 7-repeating kara?as repeat eight times to cover the next 56 half-tithis. Thus these are the "repeating" (cara) kara?as.
  • The 3 remaining half-tithis take the remaining "fixed" kara?as in order. Thus these are also "fixed" (sthira).
  • Thus one gets 60 kara?as from those 11 preset kara?as.

The Vedic day begins at sunrise. The kara?a at sunrise of a particular day shall be the prevailing kara?a for the whole day. ( )


Nakshatras are divisions of ecliptic, each 13° 20', starting from 0° Aries. The purnima of each month is synchronised with a nakshatra.[]

Festival calendar: Solar and Lunar dates

Many holidays in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina traditions are based on the lunar cycles in the lunisolar timekeeping with foundations in the Hindu calendar system. A few holidays, however, are based on the solar cycle, such as the Vaisakhi, Pongal and those associated with Sankranti.[63] The dates of the lunar cycle based festivals vary significantly on the Gregorian calendar and at times by several weeks.The solar cycle based ancient Hindu festivals almost always fall on the same Gregorian date every year and if they vary in an exceptional year, it is by one day.[64]

Regional variants

The Hindu Calendar Reform Committee, appointed in 1952, identified more than thirty well-developed calendars, in use across different parts of India.

Variants include the lunar emphasizing Vikrama, the Shalivahana calendars, as well as the solar emphasizing Tamil calendar and Malayalam calendar. The two calendars most widely used today are the Vikrama calendar, which is in followed in western and northern India and Nepal, the Shalivahana Shaka calendar which is followed in the Deccan region of India (Comprising present day Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Goa).[65]


Calendars based on lunar cycle (lunar months in solar year, lunar phase for religious dates and new year):


Calendars based on solar cycle (solar months in solar year, lunar phase for religious dates but new year which falls on solar date - South and Southeast Asian solar New Year):

Other related calendars across India and Asia

See also


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