of years before the birth of Christ, ancient Indian scholars devised a
comprehensive calendar by systematically studying the Vedas and the movement and
positions of planetary bodies and stars. This calendar was prepared in the form
of an almanac called the Panchang
Kalanirnay is a very popular Hindu calendar which is a combination of a
Calendar and an Almanac and they call it the "Calmanac" . It is looked upon as an
advisor and guide.
from measuring time in its simplest, most mechanical sense, it was extensively
used to determine dates, activities and personal goals, so as to achieve and
attain the highest good within the divine order. Almost fifty years after
India's emergence as a modern nation state, the calendar is still widely used in
various versions and by communities all over the country.
It is not uncommon to have some members of the same family celebrate their
birthdays according to the Hindu Calendar while others follow the Gregorian one.
Both calendars are accepted in government, metropolitan and municipal offices,
and in schools and businesses.
For the people of
India, time has always been measured in a spiritual and scientific calendar
called the Panchang. Chronicling five thousand years of Indian civilization, the
Panchang lists festivals that honor and celebrate the gods and legends of
India. It evokes the universe through mathematical calculations that predict
weather, events, epidemics and personal fortune.
For Hindus, the Gregorian
calendar is a new meaning of time introduced and instituted by the British in
India. While the Gregorian calendar is still used by the people and government
of India, the Panchang has always been the spiritual expression of time for the Hindus
and a guide to a life close to God and religion.
The panchang measures
time in lunar months whose names reveal the secret path of stars and
constellations. The face of the new moon (Aamvasya) ushers in a new month.
The first fortnight
of the full moon is known as Shuklapaksha,
' the bright half ', as the moon waxes. Full moon, Poornima marks the end
is the dark half fortnight of the month during which the moon wanes.
The Panchang lists four
weeks of seven days, identified with planets and gods.
evolution of the universe, the Panchang is much more than the meaning of time in
India. For Hindus, it is the essence of religion and living, which predicts the
spiritual path of people on a journey towards god.
is the Indian Calendar, which has been in use for centuries. According to
the Panchang - Hindu Vedic Calendar, there are 60 years, each
having a name for itself. The name of each year also has a meaning and
suggests what is in store for us in that year.
Hindu Calendar measures time in lunar months. The Hindu calendar usually
has 12 months each given the name of the solar month in which it begins.
However there may even be 13 months as each month begins with the new
western calendar is based on the sun, in which a year is the time required
for the earth to complete one orbit around the sun. This precisely
measures 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
Indian calendar is ingeniously based on both the sun and the moon; it uses
a solar year but divides it into 12 lunar months. A lunar month is
precisely 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 3 seconds long. Twelve such
months constitute a lunar year of 354 days 8 hours 48 minutes and 36
seconds. To help the lunar months coincide with the solar year, the
practice of inserting an intercalary (extra) month arose. So 60 solar
months = 62 lunar months. Hence an extra month, called the Adhik Mas, is
inserted every 30 months i.e. every 2 ˝ years.
days in the Indian calendar are called tithis. They are calculated using
the difference of the longitudinal angle between the position of the sun
and moon. Because of this, tithis may vary in length. Consequently, the
tithi may or may not have changed by the time the day has changed at
sunrise. And that is why we find at certain times a tithi being omitted,
and at certain times, two consecutive days sharing the same tithi.