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The Hindu Calendar

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Thousands 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

The 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.  


  Kalnirnay Calendar 2008  

Apart 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 of Shuklapaksha.

Krishnapaksha 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.

Day Panchang Name Planet Dedication
Monday Somvar Moon Shiva
Tuesday Mangalwar Mars Ganapati
Wednesday Budhwar Mercury Krishna
Thursday Guruvar Jupiter Dattaguru
Friday Shukravar Venus Lakshmi
Saturday Shanivar Saturn Hanuman
Sunday Ravivar Sun Surya

Encompassing the 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.

Panchang  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. 

The 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 moon.

The 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.

The 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.

Lunar 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.

The months on the Indian calendar are

Chaitra March - April 30
Vaisakh April- May 31
Jyaistha May - June 31
Ashadh June - July 31
Shravan July - August 31
Bhadrapad August- September 31
Ashvin September - October 30
Karttik October - November 30
Margashirsha November- December 30
Pousha December - January 30
Magh January - February 30
Phalgun February - March 30

The Panchang lists festivals that honor and celebrate the gods and legends of India. The calendar also has auspicious days and times (Good days and times on which you can start a new venture or business, job etc.) and non-auspicious (Rahu Kaal) days and times. Many Indians use the Panchang to look up auspicious dates and times. It is said that it is very important to start any new venture or deed at the appropriate time by reading the  Panchang. Nowadays, it is hard to do so, but there are lots of Indians who strongly believe in "Shubha Ghaadi" which is "right  time" and look that up in the Panchang so that all the stars and planets are working for them. 

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