HomeAdditionA Brief Introduction to the Indian calendar and Panchang

A Brief Introduction to the Indian calendar and Panchang

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This Indic calendar is known as the Panchangam which is also known as Panchang. A majority of the religious festivals in India are timed according to the Luni-Solar calendar. It includes 6 Ritusor seasons in contrast to the Western calendar which has just four. Each Ritu typically is two months long and is also known as Masas/Masams.

Ritus and the corresponding Masas are:

  • Vasanta (spring): Phalguna-Chaitra.
  • Grishma (summer): Vaishakh- Jyeshtha.
  • Varsha (monsoon): Ashaadh-Shravan-Bhadrapad.
  • Sharad(autumn): Ashvin.
  • Hemanta (winter): Kartik- Margashirsha.
  • Shishira (Deep winter or prevernal): Pausha- Magha.
The twelve months in Panchang and the corresponding Gregorian month (could be a slight variance in the months as Indian Calendar dates keep changing) are:

1. Vaishakh April-May.

2. Jyeshtha May-June.

3. Ashaadh: June-July.

4. Shravan: July-Aug.

5. Bhadrapad Ag-Sep.

6. Ashvin: Sep-Oct.

7. Kartik: Oct-Nov.

8. Margashirsh/Agrahayan : Nov-Dec.

9. Magha: Dec-Jan.

10. Pausha Jan-Feb.

11. Phalgun: Feb-Mar.

12. Chaitra Mar-Apr.

The month of the month has 2 pakshas (also known as fortnights). The two fortnights that occur in the month are:
  • Shukla Paksha The moon’s waxing cycle culminates at Poornima which is also known as Full Moon.
  • Krishna Paksha Krishna Paksha The moon’s waning cycle ends in Amavasya (or No Moon).

Panchang is a calendar that follows the sun’s cycle. Today Panchangam is a lunar calendar based on lunar and solar cycles. This means that it reflects the phases of the moon as well as the exact location of the sun. In contrast to Gregorian months which contain thirty or thirty-one dates, however, the Panchang month is comprised of 15 or fifteen Tithis or dates within each Paksha.

1. Prathama.

2. Dwitiya.

3. Tritiya.

4. Chaturthi.

5. Panchami.

6. Shashthi.

7. Saptami.

8. Ashtami.

9. Navami.

10. Dashami.

11. Ekadashi.

12. Dwadashi.

13. Trayodashi.

14. Chaturdashi.

15. Poornima as well as Amavasya depending on the Paksha.

Every Tithi is seen twice in one month. For example, it is two Ashtamis as well as 2 Ekadashis as well each month. But, the moon during both Ashtamis and Ekadashis is completely different due to the paksha of the Paksha.

The term Panchang originates from the two words Pancha which mean five and Anga meaning part. Five parts of these include:

  • Tithi (lunar day).
  • Vasara or Vaar (solar day).
  • Karana (half of the lunar day).
  • Yoga (soli-lunar combinations).
  • Nakshatra (lunar constellation).

Panchang is an old Indian system for time keeping. It is deeply linked to the geographic region that is India. The Panchang used in India is not valid in other countries. Even though Indians living in other countries follow the Panchang that is followed in India. However, this practice isn’t entirely accurate. The calculations are altered with changes in the geographical location. This is the reason for the differences in the regional calendar of India.

In certain regions of India, the beginning of the new year is following Poornima In other areas, it begins following Amavasya. It is believed that the New Year begins at different times in different regions when they all follow, in a sense the same calendar. Month names differ somewhat.

Of the different regional calendars, among the most examined calendars are Shalivahana Shaka found in South India, Vikram Samvat (Bikrami) located throughout Bikrami, which is found in North as well as Central areas, Tamil calendar used in Tamil Nadu, and the Bengali calendar found in Bengal. The New Year begins in the spring. In Gujarat along with Kerala, The New Year begins in the fall.

An additional month, called Purushottam Maas Adhik Mass also known as Malamaas is added to the Panchang to ensure that the solar and lunar calendars are in sync. The exact location of the Adhik Mass between other months varies it occurs approximately every 32.5 months.

In the context of Panchang in the context of Panchang and New Year, one often is confused between Samvat as well as Samvatsara. The term Samvatsara is used to refer to the era. Samvatsara is a 60-year Jupiter cycle, while Samvat is a reference to an era. A variety of Indian Hindu calendar 2022, systems utilize the term era or Samvat to give a historical reference, such as the Gregorian calendar makes use of Samvat to refer back to the Common Era, which has the birth of Jesus Christ for its historic reference. Vikrama Era refers to the coronation of King Vikramaditya at Ujjain. Presently, we are at 2076 Vikram Samvat.

It is essential to recognize it is that the Panchang system isn’t restricted to Hindus. Jain, Buddhist, and Sikh religions have also accepted it, with minor modifications. So, it’s best to choose a more inclusive phrase, like the Indic calendar system to define it.

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