Adyar Gopal Parivar
The Hindu calendar is based on the movements of the moon. There are many publishing
houses that offer for sale the Hindu calendar every year in different languages including
English. A complete Hindu Calendar is known as the Panchaanga.
|The Hindu Calendar
by Mohan Shenoy
|Name of the Yuga
||Number of calendar years
|Name of Rithu
||Names of Maasa(s)
||Chaithra and Vaishakha Maasa(s)
||Jyeshta and Aashaada Maasa(s)
||Shraavana and Bhaadrapada
||Ashweeja and Karthik Maasa(s)
||Margashira and Pushya Maasa(s)
||Magha and Phalguna Maasa(s)
|Bhanuvaara (Adithyavaara, Ravivaara)
|Somavaara, or Chandravaara
|Guruvaara, (or Brihaspathivaara)
When the Sun and the Moon are viewed
from earth (with appropriate protection to
the eyes), at the end of the New Moon both
Sun and Moon are located at the same
But when Moon travels further and
located at 12° (twelve degrees) to the line
of the Sun one Tithi has passed.
Therefore the Sun is at 12° distant from
the line of the Moon at the end of one Tithi,
‘Prathama’; 24° distant at the end of
‘Dwithiya’ and 36° at the end of ‘Thrithiya’
and so on and at 180° distant at the end of
Full Moon day ‘Poornima’. The first fortnight
or ‘Shukla Paksha’ ends at ‘Poornima’.
Similarly when the Moon moves further
on his path, through the second fortnight
‘Krishna Paksha’ beginning with another
‘Prathama’ he is at 192° distant from the
Sun at the end of the Tithi of ‘Prathama’;
204° distant at the end of the Tithi
‘Dwithiya’; 216° distant at the end of
‘Thrithiya’ and so on until New Moon
arrives again and he will be at 360° distant
from the Moon. At 360° the Sun and the
Moon are again at the same angle as
viewed from the earth.
However, since the earth and Sun are
also changing their positions during this
one month from end of New Moon to the
next end of New Moon, the time of 12°
travel also changes.
The time of a Tithi therefore varies from
the lowest 53 Ghatika(s) 56 Pala(s) and 0
Vipala(s), or 21 hours and 34 minutes and
24 seconds to the highest 65 Ghatika(s)
and 16 Pala(s) and 0 Vipala(s), or 26 hours
and 6 minutes and 24 seconds. The Mean
time of a Tithi could be the average of all
Tithi(s) and it is 59 Ghatika(s) and 3 Pala(s)
and 40.23 Vipala(s).
The peculiarity of Tithi(s) is that unlike
the Calendar day which begins at 0000
Hours at midnight and end at 2400 Hours at
midnight, a Tithi begins and ends at
different time on the clock.
Often a Tithi begins sometime during the
24 hours of a day and ends either in the
same 24 hours of the day or on the
following day. In a particular day a Tithi
might end and the following Tithi might
begin. Even two Tithi(s) might have their
beginnings in the same 24 hours.
In order to eliminate the confusion with regards to the numbering of the year in a global
set-up, every nation has adopted the Christian era. The year 2008 means there have been
2008 years since the Christian era.
The Kali Yuga of the Hindu calendar has been quoted as having started 5,109 years ago
(with reference to the year 2008). K. N. Nayak, the author of the book "Cultural Relativity,
page 478, writes that Kaliyuga began on Friday the 18th in the year 3102 Since there are
4,23,000 years in the Kali Yuga, there are yet over 4,21,000 years to go (as in 2008) before
there will be a Pralaya or End of the Kalpa and of the Universe, a long time indeed.
Late Kumble Narasimha Nayak in his book
Cultural Relativity writes that the Cultures of
different periods and different continents
have their own frames. The Indic culture he
says is in the Unity in Diversity frame with the
Zero as the fifth dimension. The Western
culture at present is in the Diversity frame
with the Bible, Quran and Communist
ideologies stating a year to be a 12 month
periods because time and space are
|Adyar Gopal and Radha Bai
|The Hindu Calendar,
Maasa, Vaara and Tithi.
by Mohan Shenoy
The common calendar belongs to Europe and North America and its use began more
recently than the Hindu calendar.
However, India has yielded to the appeal of the world community to use the common
calendar and also use the Indian National Calendar side-by-side. The Indian National
calendar is based on the Shalivahana Shaka system.
Hindus believe that the lifetime of the present universe, called the Kalpa, can be divided into
many 'period units' of time known as Manvantara(s). Each Manvantara has many sets of four
Yuga(s). Many Manvantaras make one Kalpa or total period of the present creation. The
names of the four Yuga(s) and the corresponding number of years they constitute is as
These figures are also of only theoretical
importance to a Hindu.
The Hindus have named the years known as
Samvatsara(s) in order to identify the time of any
event. The common calendar does not have such
names applied to the years.
The numbers in the Shaka system are variable depending upon the first year in which the
Shaka was started by an emperor. But the names of the year are always the same regardless
of the Shaka to which it belongs.
There are 60 such names given to 60
years,or 60 Samvatsara(s).
First name is 'Prabhava' and the 60th
name is 'Akshaya'.
The year 2009-10 is known as Virodhi.
These names of the years are also of
theoretical importance for a Hindu now.
They are listed in most of the
The Hindu calendar also names six 'seasons'. They are
known as Rithu(s). Their names are as follows:
There are two months or Maasa(s) to each Rithu
or season. The names of Maasa and the
corresponding Rithu are given below.
There are twelve months. The month is Maasa in
Sanskrit. The names of Maasa(s) are as given in
the table of Maasa(s)
The Hindu days are called Vaara and their
names and corresponding English names are
The Hindu name for the date is Thithi. We know
that a Lunar month has 28 to 30 days. There are
two 15-day periods in each month. Each of the
two 15-day periods is known as Paksha
(fortnight). The moon as we know rotates around
the earth one full circle in its orbit every 30 days.
When we look up at the moon in the sky any
night, what we see is the light from Sun reflected
by the moon. This light is a reflexion that is seen
by us. Half of the moon is always lighted by the
Sun, a fully lighted half of the moon can be
observed from earth on one day only in a month.
This is the Full Moon day or Poornima. About 15
days later the lighted half of the moon remains
completely invisible from the earth and we see
no moon on such a day. This is the New Moon
day or Amaavasya.
As the moon turns further a small thin curve of
reflected light (a fraction of the sun-lighted half of
the moon) can be seen from the earth.
On the second day after the New Moon day there is slightly thicker curve of reflected light.
On the third day the curved light is still wider, and so on until the fifteenth day when the moon
is fully visible as a round ball of light, which is Poornima Moon.
The day after Poornima, the sun-lighted half of the moon begins to turn slowly and the moon
looks like a large fat oval. The second day after Poornima, the moon becomes a slightly
smaller oval. On the third day it becomes still smaller an oval, and thus on the fifteenth day
after Poornima, the moon is totally darkened out. This therefore is Amaavasya. The Paksha
ending with the Full Moon is known as Shukla Paksha and the Paksha ending with the New
Moon is known as Krishna Paksha.
Because of the changes in the position of
the time period known as Tithi(s) they do not
correspond to the dates on the common
calendar every year. For example the day of
birth of a child determined by the name of
Tithi, Paksha, Maasa and Samvatsara as is
done in the Hindu Calendar corresponding
to the date in the common calendar will not
repeat on the same date of the common
calendar next year.
For practical purposes, the Tithi that is
current at the time of Sunrise is considered
the Tithi for a particular day, even if another
Tithi either began or ended during the same
24 hours until next Sunrise time. For
example on a Monday at Sunrise the Tithi is
‘Chathurdashi’ (Fourteenth) then Monday is
considered as the ‘Chathurdashi’, even if
the Tithi of ‘Poornima’ begins some time in
There are occasions when two days e.g.
Thursday and Friday are given the same
Tithi name. This happens when on
Thursday the current Tithi ‘Chowthi’ at
Sunrise had just begun and since it might be
the longest Tithi of 26 hours (see above)
ends after the Sunrise on Friday. Since
‘Chowthi’ was the Tithi at Sunrise on
Thursday and also at Sunrise on Friday
both Thursday and Friday are considered
‘Chowthi’ days. Such Tithi(s) are known as
There are also Tithi(s) that are Redundant
Tithi(s). A Redundant Tithi is the one which
does not see a Sunrise during its time
period. It begins after the Sunrise and ends
before the next Sunrise.
Aberration is seen in using Tithi as a
particular day because in a Lunar year with
12 Lunar months (Maasa) there are only
354 to 355 days while there should be 360
Tithi(s). If each Tithi is counted as a day
then we add 7 Tri-urnal Tithi(s) and 13
Since man could at the most live for about 100 years, it is easy to know his age if the
Samvatsara of his birth is known.
|CLICK ON THE
||Day of Festival
||Sri Krishna Jayanthi
||Gowri Ganesha Festival
||Navarathri Festival begins
||Sharada Puja, Durga Puja
||Gow Puja, Festival Bath,
||Shops Establishments Puja
|All Festivals are to be celebrated on days suitable for the community in the area to prevent
disruption of normal activities of trade and service and close to the weekly holiday (Sunday).
Those festivals that are not listed can also be held by this general rule.
|TABLE GIVING PROPOSED DAYS FOR FESTIVALS