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In Indian society, every Hindu event is conducted on the basis of auspicious dates and timings. Whenever there is an occasion around the corner, elders of the family would check - is today auspicious day in Hindu calendar? After proper consultation from reliable priests or pandits, they then decide whether to choose the day or not. But what do they refer to in order to select these dates and timings? They go through daily Panchang. In recent times, Panchang dates of the Hindu calendar are readily available on the internet. We may usually see them with names like online Panchangam, today Panchanga, tomorrow panchangam etc. Let us read ahead and know everything about Panchang in detail.
Panchang, also known as, Panchanga, is a calendar in Indian astrology, preferably known as the Hindu calendar. This calendar contains important Hindu dates and timings marked for each month of the Hindu year. It is prominently used in India and some parts of South Asian countries. The word “Panchang” is derived from two Sanskrit words: “Panch” means “Five”, and “Anga” means “limbs” or “parts”. This indicates that Panchang is conceptualised using five astrological elements - Tithi, Nakshatra, Yoga, Var, and Karna. We’ll read about these elements later and also know their importance. For now, let us understand Panchang meaning in English in a better way.
The Indian Panchang is a standard document in the form of a calendar. Next time someone’s wedding dates or pooja dates are decided, just know that it is based on Panchang. In fact, today's Panchang in English and Hindi is the most looked-after topic in Vedic astrology. By noticing every planet’s movements and positions, astrology Panchang provides dates and timings for various Poojas, fasts, Tithis, Muhurats and festivals. In a Hindu family, the dates and timings for every festival change every year. The reason behind it is the changes in Panchang due to different planetary activities. Hence, Panchang serves as a guide to indicate influences on humans at a specific time and date.
As already mentioned that Panchangam meaning is made out of five components; it’s time to know them in detail. These elements form the basis of Panchang calculation. That is, tracking times and determining dates for various cultural and religious events. Moreover, they offer Panchang, a holistic view of heavenly bodies’ positions, lunar phases and planetary influences.
The five elements forming Panchnag, or the Hindu Calendar, are as follows.
The Tithi represents the lunar day or phase of the moon in a Lunar month. A month of four weeks is usually referred to as the Lunar month in Panchang. Tithi is a fundamental concept in Panchang, calculated based on the angular distance between the Moon and the Sun. Hence, Panchangam can be called a “Luni-Solar calendar”. In fact, there are 30 Tithis in a Lunar month, and each Tithi holds unique significance.
Some Tithis are considered auspicious, while others are considered inauspicious. Hence, Hindu festivals and rituals are often based on specific Tithis, ensuring that the important events align with favourable lunar phases. The reason behind considering phases of the Moon (lunar phases) for Panchang is that major calculations or predictions are based on the Moon’s position in Earth’s orbit.
The 30 Tithis of Panchang are further placed into five categories in the following manner:
The Nakshatra or Nakshatram refers to the position of the Moon in one of the 27 constellations or star groups in the sky. Each Nakshatra is associated with certain characteristics and has its own ruling deity. Astrologers consider the Nakshatra to determine individual traits, compatibility in relationships, and auspicious times for various ceremonies. The choice of Nakshatra is particularly crucial in organising weddings and other significant religious purposes. It plays an important role in how to read Panchang and forming insights for Rashis or zodiacs.
Moreover, there is a special period in astrology called Panchak - a union of Dhanishta, Purva Bhadrapada, Shatabhisha, Uttar Bhadrapada, and Revati Nakshatras. Any auspicious act must be avoided in this period. Following are the 27 constellations or Nakshatras whose position is considered with respect to Moon at any given time of birth.
Yoga or Yog in Panchang represents the combination of the Moon and the Sun at specific angular distances. There are 27 Yogas, each associated with distinct planetary influences. These Yogas are considered while choosing appropriate times for specific actions, seeking favourable blessings and aligning energies with the heavenly bodies of the universe. Considering Yogas has become essential in Panchang as it plays a significant role in astrology and Vedics. These Yogas are important because they provide insights into a person’s nature and destiny.
Moreover, Yogas are considered by means of Ghatis, an ancient measurement system of time. A Ghati means “24 minutes”. Out of all the 27 Yogas presented below, it is believed that the first three Ghatis of Vaishkumbha and Vajra, the first five ghatis of Shoola, the first nine ghatis of Vyaghat, Gand and Atigand, and the first half of Parigh Yoga are considered inauspicious for all the rituals held in Hinduism.
Karna is an essential element of Panchang, representing half of a Tithi. There are 11 Karnas, each spanning a specific duration during the lunar month or cycle. Like Tithis, Karnas also influence the selection of auspicious times for various events and activities. People consider the nature of Karna before starting important tasks, as it is believed to impact the outcome and success of those undertakings. Some Karnas are favourable for certain activities, while others are avoided for critical goals. Moreover, by incorporating Karnas in Panchang, people are able to make well-informed decisions.
The 11 Karnas are further divided into 2 groups: Nara Karanas (Fixed) and Naga Karanas (Movable). Fixed Karnas do not change their position with the movement of the Moon and reflect Sun’s position. On the other hand, Movable Karnas move along with the Moon as it orbits the Earth. Each Karana brings its own attributes, and based on its impacts, essential events and ceremonies are scheduled.
They are classified as follows for deciding the suitability of the day:
|Naga (Movable)||Nara (Fixed)|
The Var, also known as Vara, refers to the seven days of the week. Each day is associated with a particular planet(graha) and has its own characteristics and influences. For example, Sunday is associated with the Sun, Monday with the Moon and so on. Vara is often considered when planning religious observances and other activities, as it is believed that the ruling planet of the day can influence the result of the undertaken actions. Moreover, people follow specific rituals and practices on each Vaar to seek blessings and positive energy.
For example, Monday is associated with Lord Shiva and is considered an auspicious day for worshipping him, while Tuesday is linked to Lord Hanuman. Alongside, the planetary influences play along whose favourable shadows can be requested by worshipping God, as just mentioned. These influences contribute to varied energies experienced during the week. Hence, the Var system helps individuals in organising their religious activities, personal and professional affairs and religious celebrations in cooperation with the universal forces and God.
Panchangam or Panchang is an integral part of Hindu tradition and culture. It is a comprehensive astrological calendar system that provides essential information about planetary movements, auspicious timings and festivals. Over time, various organisations and regions have developed different types of Panchangams to cater to the diverse needs of the people. Let’s explore the most used types of Panchangams and their significance.
Dainik Panchang, also known as Today’s Panchang/Daily Panchang, is a widely used type of Panchangam that provides essential information for a specific day. It includes details like Tithi (Lunar day), Vaar(weekday), Nakshatra (Lunar mansion), Yoga (luni-solar day) and Karana ( half Lunar day), sunrise, sunset and other important planetary positions. People consult Dainik Panchang for planning daily activities, auspicious timings for ceremonies, and to stay connected with the traditional Hindu Calendar system. For instance, if you or the elder member of your family decides to conduct a Pooja ritual, you would look for today good time for pooja Panchangam in Dainik Panchang.
Tomorrow’s Panchang is similar to Daily Panchang, providing information regarding the essential elements for the upcoming day. It allows people to plan in advance for important events, ceremonies or personal activities based on the astrological considerations presented in the Panchangam. Some people like to be prepared in advance for events that are going to happen the next day. For their convenience, Tomorrow’s Panchang has been created so that they may keep everything ready before the actual event and do the needful for future rewards and peace. Suppose we decide to conduct an Aarti or Pooja the next day. For this, we may refer to Tomorrow’s Panchang and decide the tomorrow good time for pooja.
Month Panchang is yet another interesting Panchangam. It is a comprehensive calendar that presents the daily Panchang details for an entire month. It allows people to have an overview of the auspicious and inauspicious days, festivals and other important astrological information for the entire month. Here, you will find all the important Tithis, Muhurats, festivals and Vrats marked and stated for the entire month on the basis of the Hindu Year, which runs differently from the normal Gregorian calendar that we follow. Beneath each date, you will also find the rashis, nakshatras, and planets indicated if their influences are to be seen or predicted.
ISKCON Panchang is a Panchangam prepared by the famous International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). It is purely based on Vedic astrology and provides detailed information on various religious and spiritual events, along with the traditional Panchang elements. The ISKCON Panchang often includes special dates related to the worship of Lord Krishna and other significant Vaishnava (Hare Krishna) festivals. The ISKCON community is a great follower of Lord Krishna. Hence, along with the usual sunrise, sunset, tithis, nakshatras and rashis, you may find important events associated with Lord Krishna marked separately for each month.
Chandrabalam is an important column for Panchangam that denotes the strength and auspiciousness of the Moon during a particular day. Hence, it is often separately made in the online Panchang. People who know its importance daily lookup for this part of Panchang as it influences the success and prosperity of various activities. Chandrabalam is divided into five categories, indicating different levels of auspiciousness. People consult Chandrabalam to determine the suitability of specific tasks, events or ceremonies, taking into account, the Moon’s position and its influence on the day. This part of the Panchangam enables people to make informed decisions and seek favourable outcomes in goals.
The Panchang holds immense significance in Hindu culture and is an integral part of daily lives for millions of people. Its history can be traced back to ancient times when sages and scholars studied the movements of planets in order to develop this detailed timekeeping system. Since then, it has served as a concise astrology calendar that guides individuals in understanding the activities of planets and their impact on various aspects of life. The Panchang, as already mentioned, provides crucial information such as Tithi, Vaar, Nakshatra, Yoga, Karna, sunrise, sunset and more. This information provides info on suitable and unsuitable timings for conducting various activities, such as weddings, religious ceremonies, festivals, housewarming events and naming occasions.
In addition to guiding daily activities, Panchang plays a vital role in Vedic astrology, enabling astrologers to construct accurate horoscopes and make predictions about an individual’s life. The Panchang’s time-honoured importance has been passed down through generations, enabling a deep cultural connection to the universal cycles and spiritual beliefs. In today’s modern world, where people lead busy lives, the Panchnag remains a valuable tool to stay connected with traditional values, customs and natural cooperation with the universe. Its continued relevance and reverence exemplify why it holds an important place in the hearts of millions, serving as a source of guidance and faith.
The Panchang serves a wide range of essential purposes in Hindu culture and society, making it a valuable tool for decisions regarding various aspects of life. The primary uses of Panchang include the following:
Muhurat refers to an auspicious or favourable time or moment that is carefully chosen for conducting specific activities or events. In the context of Panchang, Muhurat Calculation or Kaal Garna involves the precise selection of a favourable period based on the motion, speed and position of the planets. Calculating Muhurat involves the following steps:
'Samvat' refers to the era or year system used to denote years in the Hindu calendar or Panchang. It is a significant part of the Indian calendar system, and different regions may follow different Samvat eras. It plays a significant role in determining the dates of festivals, religious observances and important events. Two commonly used Samvat eras in India are - Vikrama Samvat (VS) and Saka Samvat (SS).
Following is a table that explains the difference between Vikram, Saka and Gregorian( a normal calendar) Era. This is an example to give a clear picture of what we are actually talking about.
|Gregorian Year||Vikram Samvat (VS)||Saka Samvat (SS)|
In Panchang, the Samvat or era we follow also brings its seasons and months. The Hindu calendar, or Panchangam, follows a lunar system and incorporates six seasons, each comprising two Lunar Months.
The following table puts light on the system of seasons and months that are followed in Panchang.
|Seasons (Ritu)||Months as per Hindu Calendar||Months (in English)|
|Vasanta ( Spring season)||Chitra, Vaisakha||March-April, April-May|
|Grishma ( Hot summer)||Jyastha, Ashadha||May-June, June-July|
|Varsha ( Monsoon or heavy rainfall)||Sravana, Bhadra||July-August, August-September|
|Sharada ( Autumn or pleasant weather)||Ashvini, Kartika||September-October, October-November|
|Hemanta (Early Winter season)||Margashirsa, Pausa||November-December, December-January|
|Shishira ( Peak of winter or extreme cold)||Magha, Phalguna||January-February, February-March|