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Indian New Year and Indian Hindu Calendar

Indian Calendar

Ugadi is the Hindu New Year celebrated in Andhra and Karnataka. The Hindu New Year is celebrated as Gudhi Padwa in Maharashtra and Goa. Sindhis celebrate their New Year on the same day and is called Cheti Chand. The first month is Chaitra or Cheti in Sindhi. Here's a brief information on the Indian Hindu Calendar.

The Indian Calendar is a lunar based calendar. Very simplistically the months are calculated according to the revolution of moon. There are mainly two types of calendars; the Shaka calendar followed in south India and Maharashtra and the Vikrama calendar followed by the rest of India and Nepal. The origins of Hindu Calendar are in the Rig Veda around 3 BC.

Indian Hindu Calendar Kalnirnay

According to the Shaka calendar, the month begins with the first day after new moon. The Vikrama calendar months begin the first day after the full moon.

The 15 days as the moon grows and becomes full moon is referred to as “Shuddha or the "Shukla Paksha”. The full moon is the Poornima. The next 15 days as the moon wanes is referred as “Krishna Paksha”. New moon is the Amavasya. A date is called as the “Tithee”.

There are seven days in a week; Ravi-vaar (Sunday or the day of sun), Som-vaar (Monday or the day of the moon), Mangal-vaar (Tuesday or the day of Mars), Budha-vaar (Wednesday or the day of Mercury), Guru-vaar (Thursday or the day of Jupiter), Shukra-vaar (Friday or day of Venus) and Shani-vaar (Saturday or day of Saturn).

The elliptical orbit of the earth is divided into 27 nakshatras or fixed stars. The nakshatra the moon lies in at sunrise is the nakshatra for the day.

There are 12 zodiacs corresponding to the 27 nakshatras.

They are Mesha (Airies), Vrushabh (Taurus), Mithun (Gemini), Karka (Cancer), Simha (Leo), Tula (Libra), Kanya (Virgo), Vrishchika (Scorpio), Dhanu (Sagittarius), Makar (Capricorn) , Kumbha (Aquarius), Meen (Pisces).

The twelve lunar months correspond to when the Sun transits to each of the 12 zodiacs beginning with Mesha or Aeries.

  1. Chaitra (sun transits into Mesha or Airies)
  2. Vaishākh (sun transits into Vrushabh or Taurus)
  3. Jyaishtha (sun transits into Mithun or Gemini)
  4. Āshādha (sun transits into Karka or Cancer)
  5. Shrāvana (sun transits into Simha or Leo)
  6. Bhaadra or, Bhādrapad (sun transits into Tula or Libra)
  7. Āshwin (sun transits into Kanya or Virgo)
  8. Kārtik (sun transits into Vrushchika or Scorpio)
  9. Agrahayana or, Mārgashīrsha (sun transits into Dhanu or Sagittarius)
  10. Paush (sun transits into Makar or Capricorn)
  11. Māgh (sun transits into Kumbha or Aquarius)
  12. Phālgun(sun transits into Meen or Pisces)

These 12 months account for 356 days. A solar year has 365 or 366 (leap year) days. To compensate for the 9-10 days, there is an extra month called the Adhik Masam every 32.5 months

Story of Ganga

Several years ago, a king named Sagara magically acquired sixty thousand sons. One day, King Sagara performed a ritual of worship for the good of the kingdom, the Ashwamedha yagna. One of the integral parts of the ritual was a horse, which was stolen by the jealous Indra. Sagara sent all his sons all over the earth to search for the horse. They found it in the nether-world (or Underworld) next to a meditating sage Kapila. Believing that the sage had stolen the horse, they hurled insults at him and caused his penance to be disturbed. The sage opened his eyes for the first time in several years, and looked at the sons of Sagara. With this glance, all sixty thousand were burnt to death.


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