Indian Calendar/Hindu Calendar

Today I am going to talk about a very simple but interesting topic and that is a calendar. Calendar as everybody knows is a 12-month period representation of a year. Calendar is like a register that gives us the list of days, weeks and months in one year.  Each month on an average consists of 30 days. January, March, May, July, August, October and December are the one’s with 31 days. Feb has 28/29 days. April, June, September and November are the one’s with 30 days. This is the Gregorian calendar which is the refined calendar adopted in 1582. Though many of the countries didn’t like this idea slowly all of them started adopting this in years to come. Now almost all the countries follow the Gregorian calendar. But in different countries there are people who follow their own traditional calendar which is formed out of Zodiac sign movements. Though they follow Gregorian Calendar in general, but for certain special activities and events they use their historic Calendar. Chinese, Japanese, Europeans all have their own calendar system different from Gregorian calendars.

I am going to talk about the Telugu calendar today and explain how date, time and seasons are measured as per Telugu calendar. First let me tell you all that the Telugu calendar cycle lasts for 60 years. Each year of that 60 years have 60 different names. Presently we are in ‘Hevalambi’ 31st year in the 60-year cycle. It is to be believed as per Hindu Traditions that a human being can live upto 2 cycles that is 120 years.

Let me now explain the Indian Calendar or Hindu Calendar which Indians follow for any kind of activity or event planning and execution. Like Gregorian, Hindu calendar also has 12 Masamulu, each month lasts 29/30 days.

Below is the list of twelve months that form Telugu/Hindu Calendar:

  1. Chaithramu (March-April)
  2. Vaisaakhamu (April-May)
  3. Jyeshtta (May-June)
  4. Aashaadhamu (June-July)
  5. Sraavanamu (July-August)
  6. Bhaadhrapadamu (August-September)
  7. Aasveeyujamu (September-October)
  8. Kaarthikamu (October-November)
  9. Maargaseershamu (November-December)
  10. Pushyamu (December-January)
  11. Maakhamu (January-February)
  12. Phaalgunamu (February-March)

The Seasons and Months!

We have just seen the 12 months and their names. Seasons are the integral part of any calendar. There are 6 seasons or ruthuvulu. Here is the list of the seasons as per Hindu calendar and the months.

Telugu Name English Name Telugu Maasalu
Vasantha Ruthu Spring Season Chaitram and Vaishakam
Greeshma Ruthu Summer Season Jyestha and Aashadam
Varsha Ruthu Rainy Season Sravanam and Bhadrapadham
Sarath Ruthu Moon light Season Aasvejam and Karthikam
Hemantha Winter Season Maargaseeram and Pushyam
Sisira Ruthu Autum Season Maagha(Maakham) and Phaalgunam

That’s how the 6 seasons are distributed across twelve months as per Hindu Calendar.

Every month in Hindu calendar months is divided into two parts called as Paksha. Each Paksha is equal to 14/15 days. The first 14/15 days of the month is called as Shukla Paksha which is a transition from New Moon to Full Moon and the second 14-15 days of the month is called as Krishna Paksha which is a transition from Full Moon to No Moon.

Simply put

  • Shukla Paksha is the period of brightening moon – Amavasya to Pournami
  • Krishna Paksha is the period of fading moon – Pournami to Amavasya

In Telugu calendar each day has its own name and are called as Thitis. Below are the Thitis of a month as per the telugu calendar:

  1. Padyami (first day)
  2. Vidiya
  3. Tadiya
  4. Chaturdhi
  5. Panchami
  6. Shashti
  7. Saptami
  8. Ashtami
  9. Navami
  10. Dasami
  11. Ekadasi
  12. Dwadasi
  13. Trayodasi
  14. Chaturdasi
  15. Poornima or Amavasya (end of a paksha)

Next comes the crucial DAY!

After introducing the 60-year cycle, 12-month year, 2-months seasons, 15-days paksha; now I will explain the most interesting and shocking part of this post and that is about Day. What we all follow is the clock or time pattern which is 24 hours in a day or 1440 minutes per day or 86400 seconds. But as per the Indian calendar the measuring parameters of time are Ghadi, Pal and Vipal.

Ghadi is hours, Pal is minutes and Vipal or Istha kaal is seconds.  Like the new day starts at 12:00 am as per English calendar, the new day starts at Sunrise time in Indian Calendar. Below points will give you more clarity about the day and time patter in Indian Calendar.

  • Like 24 hours = Day in English Calendar, 60 Ghadis = Day in Indian Calendar
  • Like 60 minutes = hours in English Calendar, 24 Minutes = Hour in Indian Calendar
  • Like 60 seconds = minutes in English Calendar, 24 Seconds = minutes in Indian Calendar.

Divas = Day

Finally, Divas is equal to 30 Ghadiyas of day time and 30 Ghadiyas of night. So, technically Indian day has 60 hours as compared to 24 hours of the western system.  So, in an hour we have 2.5 ghadiyas each lasting for 24 minutes and as I have already explained the day starts from sun rise. For example I will tell you the time now as per the Indian system of calculation. When am writing this post this is the time.

timeHere the time is 22 hours 29 minutes and 7 seconds as per western time. The Indian time given is 39 ghadis 13 pals and 10 vipals. Let’s see how we got this. In Hyderabad Sunrise happened at 6.48am today so that is the beginning of the day which is counted as 00:00:00. Exactly at 6.48PM it is 30 ghadis. From 6.48PM to 10.29PM its 3 hours and 41 minutes or 221 minutes. Now each ghadi is 24 mins. So, if we divide 221 by 24 we get 9.2 ghadis and that 0.2 ghadis equal to 13 pals. Adding this to 30 we get 39 ghadis and 13 pals.

Now you understood how accurately our ancestors were measuring time. Their measurement started from a milli second called vipals went to seconds called pals, went to ghadis called minutes/hours and to days to pakshas to months to seasons to years and finally to a big cycle of 60 years. Hope you all enjoyed reading it and post any queries you have, will try answering them!