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Indian national calendar

Mohar of Gorkha (later Nepal's) king Prithvi Narayan Shah, dated Saka era 1685 (AD 1763).

The Indian national calendar, sometimes called the Saka calendar, is a solar calendar that is used alongside the Gregorian calendar by The Gazette of India, in news broadcasts by All India Radio, and in calendars and official communications issued by the Government of India.

Originally through historical Indian influence, the Saka calendar is also used in Java and Bali among Indonesian Hindus. Nyepi, the "Day of Silence", is a celebration of the Saka new year in Bali. Nepal's Nepal Sambat evolved from the Saka calendar. The Saka calendar was also used in several areas in the modern-day Philippines as written in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription. In India, Yugabda is also used with corresponding months of Saka/Nepal Sambat. Yugabda is based on Kaliyuga Sankhya preserved by Indian Astrology. The Kali Yuga began 5,123 years ago and has 426,877 years left as of 2022 CE. Kali Yuga will end in the year 428,899 CE.

Calendar structure

The calendar months follow the signs of the tropical zodiac rather than the sidereal zodiac normally used with the Hindu and Buddhist calendars.

# Name (Sanskrit) Length Start date (Gregorian) Tropical zodiac Tropical zodiac (Sanskrit)
1 Chaitra 30/31 March 22/21 Aries Meṣha
2 Vaisākha 31 April 21 Taurus Vṛiṣabha
3 Jyēshtha 31 May 22 Gemini Mithuna
4 Āshādha 31 June 22 Cancer Karkata/Karka
5 Shrāvana 31 July 23 Leo Simha
6 Bhādra 31 August 23 Virgo Kanyā
7 Āshwin 30 September 23 Libra Tulā
8 Kārtika 30 October 23 Scorpio Vṛiśchik‌‌‌a
9 Agrahāyana 30 November 22 Sagittarius Dhanur
10 Pausha 30 December 22 Capricorn Makara
11 Māgha 30 January 21 Aquarius Kumbha
12 Phālguna 30 February 20 Pisces Mīna

Chaitra is the first month of the calendar and begins on the March equinox, similar to Farvardin, the first month of the Iranian Solar Hijri calendar. Chaitra has 30 days and starts on March 22, except in leap years, when it has 31 days and starts on March 21. The months in the first half of the year all have 31 days, to take into account the slower movement of the sun across the ecliptic at this time.

The names of the months are derived from the older Hindu lunisolar calendar, so variations in spellings exist, and there is a possible source of confusion as to what calendar a date belongs to.

The names of the weekdays are derived from the seven classical planets (see Navagraha). The first day of the week is Ravivara (Sunday). The official calendar reckoned by the government of India has Sunday as the first and Saturday as the last day of the week.

Days of the Saka calendar
Day number Name Classical planet Image Western equivalent Gregorian
1 Ravivara Ravi Surya graha.JPG Sun Sunday
2 Somvara Soma Chandra graha.JPG Moon Monday
3 Mangalavara Mangala Angraka graha.JPG Mars Tuesday
4 Budhavara Budha Budha graha.JPG Mercury Wednesday
5 Brahaspativara Bṛhaspati Brihaspati graha.JPG Jupiter Thursday
6 Shukravara Shukra Shukra graha.JPG Venus Friday
7 Shanivara Shani Shani graha.JPG Saturn Saturday

Years are counted in the Saka era, which starts its year 0 in the year 78 of the Christian Era/Common Era. To determine leap years, add 78 to the Saka year – if the result is a leap year in the Gregorian calendar, then the Saka year is a leap year as well.

History

Vikram Period

The Kushana king Kanishka is believed to have created the calendar that came to be known as the Saka Calendar.

Adoption

Senior Indian Astrophysicist Meghnad Saha was the head of the Calendar Reform Committee under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Other members of the Committee were: A. C. Banerjee, K. L. Daftari, J. S. Karandikar, Gorakh Prasad, R. V. Vaidya and N. C. Lahiri. It was Saha's effort, which led to the formation of the Committee. The task before the Committee was to prepare an accurate calendar based on scientific study, which could be adopted uniformly throughout India. The Committee had to undertake a detailed study of thirty different calendars prevalent in different parts of the country. The task was further complicated by the integration of those calendars with religion and local sentiments. India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in his preface to the Report of the Committee, published in 1955, wrote: "They (different calendars) represent past political divisions in the country ... . Now that we have attained Independence, it is obviously desirable that there should be a certain uniformity in the calendar for our civic, social, and other purposes, and this should be done on a scientific approach to this problem." Usage started officially at 1 Chaitra 1879, Saka Era, or 22 March 1957.

See also

This page was last updated at 2022-09-25 05:01 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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